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

What is something you are holding onto that you know you need to give to God?

How can you help others to live more “rested” lives?

Why is it often so difficult for us to fully give our burdens to Christ?

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!

Contributors

Editor
Xiomara Perdomo

Xiomara Perdomo

Assistant to the President for Mission

Writer
Gerald Bedney

Gerald Bedney

Strategy Coordinator

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David Asscherick

David is a speaker/director for Light Bearers and ARISE co-founder and instructor. Since his baptism in 1999, David has traveled the globe preaching and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. He and his wife Violeta are the happy parents of two boys, Landon and Jabel.

Keynote Speaker

Benjamin Lundquist, host of Rise & Lead, will headline 2023 AYP Convention.

Benjamin Lundquist is a top motivational speaker and one the leading voices for leadership development and empowerment. He is passionate about helping students and professionals see their worth and value, see themselves as a leader, and see their potential to change the world. The message he shares is motivating, relatable, and highly practical. Audiences are challenged to take extreme ownership of the unique gifts and opportunities they have. He is an international speaker and host of Rise and Lead Podcast which has been downloaded in over 110 countries providing aspiring and experienced leaders of all ages with world-class content and conversation. He frequently speaks at corporate and faith events, universities, and high schools.

Identity in Christ | Breakout Track

April is currently an associate pastor for discipleship at Keene SDA church. She is enrolled in a dual graduate program for Public Health and MDIV chaplaincy. She enjoys working with different ministries that highlight service, hospitality, and life enrichment. 

Her hobbies include traveling, reading, music, and extreme sports. An introvert at heart, she enjoys moments with close friends and in the quiet. Her and her husband, Blake Snyder reside in Burleson, Texas.

Purpose & Calling | Breakout Track

Ann Roda likes to describe her life as one long adventure with God. She began her career as a registered nurse in OB then transitioned into healthcare administration. Then, God unexpectedly redirected her path to the Adventist Theological Seminary, for an MDiv, and into pastoral ministry. She spent 15 years as a church pastor in Marietta, Georgia and Fulton, Maryland. Six years ago, God had another adventure for Ann, and called her back into the health care ministry, serving with Adventist HealthCare as Vice President for Mission and Spiritual Care. 

This position is the perfect combination of both pastoral ministry and health care. Ann is married to Jose Hernandez, a licensed professional counselor. Ann and her husband enjoy hiking, biking, and traveling.

Relationships | Breakout Track

Stephen and Felecia Lee are partners in the mission. They share a mutual passion for young adult ministries and using their talents to share the Gospel online and through speaking engagements. Stephen helps individuals and businesses function more efficiently through time management and productivity techniques. Felecia is a full-time homemaker and also the founder of the New Wives Club. 

In addition to this, she runs a program teaching women of color how to learn principles of faith through natural hair care. They live in New Hampshire and speak in different places on topics related to singleness, courtship, communication, evangelism, and faith.

Spiritual Health | Breakout Track

Shawn is passionate about generations coming together! She grew up in a four-generation family business and knows, from first-hand experience, that when people of all ages work together, everyone wins!

She has a B.S. in marketing from the University of Nebraska and is an award-winning sales and marketing professional. Her professional certifications include being a member of the John Maxwell Team and DISC Behavioral Consultant. Recently she published her first book “Strategies for Generational Inclusion at Work.”

Communities | Breakout Track

Michael Gibson currently serves as the Lead Pastor at the Keene SDA Church where he most previously served for four years as Pastor for Young Adults and lead Elevate, a growing and thriving young adult community in Keene. Michael is married to Melissa and they both enjoy the outdoors, long walks, and traveling to new, unexplored places. 

Most days, when he’s not teaching, preaching or studying, you’ll find him playing disc golf or working on home renovations with Melissa. They recently welcomed their son, Micah Eden, into the world last October and ever since, life has taken on a whole new meaning. Above all, Michael and Melissa have a passion for discipleship and telling others about the incredible God they serve. For them, the gospel boils down to loving God and loving people.