Feb 23, 2021 • Written by Rachel Boulos
Rest for the Weary
Stress seems to be the natural byproduct of the year. The daily grind of this pandemic, in addition to non-stop personal challenges, has been enough to suck the wind out of my sails. I am ready for this drama to end.
Maybe you are too.
As I drag myself from one day into the next, I wonder if I will have enough steam to keep up with the demands of life.
In one word? I am weary.
Prolonged weariness can lead to physical burn out. Soon my health and body starts to break down. I become mentally and emotionally burdened with anxiety, depression, guilt and shame. I feel trapped in a cycle of performance, driven to meet expectations yet often missing the mark.
As humans, we are immensely aware of our need for food and water. We eagerly long for that which brings refreshment, support and strength. In the same way, when I am weary and burdened, I intensely feel that desperate thirst and need for rest.
I long for stillness.
To be at peace.
It is here, in this dry and desert place, that Jesus gently calls our name:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Come, all who are exhausted. All who are hurt, broken-hearted, and weary from grief. Come, those who are trying and failing; who strive and rely upon their own strength. All who are helpless and hopeless, come.
Jesus is our rest.
Jesus answers our weariness with himself, inviting us into a relationship with the giver of life. He calls us to himself because we need something that only he can provide. Jesus freely and generously offers us rest, but we must come to him first.
Far too often, I run to everything else but Jesus. I buy into the lie that I can find my peace and rest elsewhere. That if I just find my purpose, create margin, exercise, love myself, think positive thoughts, solve my problems, discover my true self, make memories, manage conflict or accomplish more on my to-do list, then I’ll finally be at rest.
But these things offer temporary relief with no lasting impact. Too often we “spend money on what is not bread and [our] labor on what does not satisfy” (Isa 55:2). Sooner or later, we find ourselves chained once again to the burdensome cycle of performance and weariness because the material world never provides what we really need.
Only Jesus, who created the spirit, can satisfy a weary soul.
Only the Creator of life can impart life. If I want to refresh my dry and thirsty soul, I must go directly to the source of living water and the bread of life (Jer 2:13, John 10:13-14, John 6:35).
Jesus knows how to sustain the weary one with a word (Isa 50:4). God will either deliver me from my trouble or he will see me through it. Both are examples of his love and sustaining grace. Our circumstances do not dictate our rest. Jesus is capable and powerful enough to give us internal rest even while we are experiencing trouble.
Sometimes, God’s grace looks like being “afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor 8-9). I may be weary but I am not forsaken. I may be bruised but I will not break (Isa 42:3). It was this sustaining grace Paul had in mind when he penned these words from a prison cell: “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am...I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:11, 13).
Paul knew that God’s love and grace would see him through, come what may. He could remain at peace and not lose heart because his relationship with Christ renewed him internally day by day (2 Cor 4:16). The mere fact that believers can experience the same trials of this world yet retain stillness, perseverance and joy without being defeated is a testimony of God and His amazing grace.
In this world we may have troubles but God sustains us through them all. He will never abandon us in our time of need. Jesus provides an internal stillness and strength even when our suffering rages on.
Though I feel weary, I know the Rock I am leaning on.
Right now, God’s grace in my life looks like getting out of bed every morning. It looks like pressing on when I’d rather quit. It looks like trusting, when I feel overwhelmed by fear. Choosing to forgive when it’s undeserved. Praying even while wrestling with doubt. Accepting the mess rather than trying to control it.
This road right now is not easy. Good thing I walk with One who is greater than I.
God gives us the exact amount of grace we need each day. He will not let us break under the weight of this world. Jesus’ arms are open wide to all who are worn out, overwhelmed and barely making it. He can breathe new life into our weary souls. He gives us permission to take breaks, then gives serenity and strength when we must carry on.
What is burdening you right now? What is the source of your weariness? Turn to Jesus - He is your rest. You will find him the most gentle and compassionate Master. He will renew your strength and stamina as you rest in His presence and care.