September 2023 Column
Resting In Him
Weary And Burdened
“The only constant we know here is change”. That statement shook me when one of my coworkers used it to describe the many shifts in management and focus our company had been experiencing lately. It was true. I had been there nearly 18 months, had reported to three different people, seen a number of shifts in department personnel, and had multiple projects come to a close without real resolution.
As I thought about her words, I couldn’t help but shift my perspective from business to the bigger picture of life. Like that for-profit organization, my journey and the life experiences of those in my circle also felt like a whirlwind at times – constantly swirling back and forth from one change or challenge to the next, with no real end in sight.
It’s times like these that I believe Jesus had in mind when, in Matthew 11, He gave the invitation, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus understands better than any of us how difficult life on earth can be. As a result of sin, we encounter circumstances that are uncomfortable, discouraging, even depressing at times. It’s not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’ – as Ecclesiastes 3 mentions, “for everything there is a season”. But the beauty of the gospel is that, no matter how dire the situation, God has already gained the victory! All He asks us to do is trust Him enough to make a simple trade: our burdens for His, because His “yolk is easy and [His] burden is light”.
Now, trading those burdens doesn’t mean we stop any and all activity. The word “rest” is often misinterpreted to mean we drop everything and no longer have any responsibility; that God does everything for us. While He absolutely acts on our behalf, there is still a much lighter ‘burden’ that He asks us to be responsible for carrying. The blessing of that burden is that God already knows our capacity, so He custom-fits our responsibility to match our potential (see the parable of the talents in Matthew 25). At that point, our whole job simply becomes being good stewards of that significantly lightened, custom-fit ‘burden’.
In order to steward well, we need to allow God to walk beside us on our journey – constantly asking Him to both lead and guide us along the way. Unfortunately, as I’m sure we can all testify, we often become so focused on resolving problems within our preferred timeframes that we inevitably end up ‘leading the charge’, leaving God farther and farther behind in the process.
The awesome thing about our Heavenly Father, though, is that He is patient enough with us to allow that disconnect. He understands that in order to learn how to rely on Him, we have to see what it’s like to do things on our own and reach the end of our capacity for control. It’s at the point where we have nowhere else to turn that He can say, “now you’re where I need you to be. Now you know it could only have been Me that did this for you”, and the glory will go to Him. Why does He want that glory? Not selfishly. Not so that you can see how great of a God He is.
No, it’s so that you can SEE how great of a God He is. Yes, you read that right. He wants you to recognize His greatness and give Him glory because He knows that that recognition will drive you closer to Him. Being closer to Him will push you to want to know Him more, and knowing Him more will allow you to experience deeper joy, love, and fulfillment than you could ever imagine.
It’s that simple: He wants you to give Him your burdens and ‘rest’ so that you can experience deeper joy, love, and fulfillment than you could ever imagine. That’s the God we serve.
While my coworker’s statement was true in a negative context, change isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, change can often be the greatest catalyst for growth – and if we allow the Holy Spirit to journey with us, any circumstance we encounter can be used for our ultimate benefit. “ALL things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28”
Questions for Discussion
By surrendering our burdens and finding rest in Him, we are able to experience the unmatched peace that comes as a result of trusting our journey to His care. In embracing our vulnerability, we witness His power. In relinquishing control, we gain new strength to navigate life’s currents with unwavering faith.
Give your burdens to Him today and see how He decides to work. I promise you won’t regret it!