Yesterday turned into an emotionally exhausting one. Big human needs, some problems that appear to have no answers, continued right up to 9:30 PM when I fell onto my bed. There, my head and heart full of cares, I breathed out a kind of sigh and prayer, “Help me, Jesus.” I turned on the Bible App in the Ipad™ and let the words of the Scripture remind me of His strength, His grace, and His amazing love. My soul rested as I heard these words – “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” (Colossians 3:12-15, NLT) It’s not really a ‘comfort’ passage, is it?
It was God, the Spirit, using His word to coach me. He was telling me the choices I must make to live with His joy in this broken, needy world. And, I ‘heard’ the voice (no, not audibly, but that inner voice of God’s Spirit speaking to my spirit) inviting me to rest in Him. He whispered, “Just let me lead. I know the way and, whatever demands present themselves to you, I will be there with wisdom and resources.” In spite of weariness, I renewed my hope in the promises of God.
Perhaps as you read about my listening to the Spirit’s voice, the words seem contrived or silly or simply the work of a vivid imagination. I assure you, it’s not! I am not a man given to wild flights of imagination or trips through fantasy land. He can reveal to us, in the depths of our spirit, what we cannot know by observation or conclusion, what we cannot see with our eyes or hear with our ears! He loves and we can love Him. That intimate communion with the Lord of Heaven is the Treasure of Life!
Jesus tenderly says, to each of us: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)
“Come to me, Jerry.” The invitation is not to Easy Street, nor is it to another vacation. He goes on to say, “Walk with Me and work with Me!” Jesus invites us to learn how to work steadily, to be tired, but not exhausted; to give it our all, but not to feel that life has been sucked from us. He invites us to work smart, as well as hard. I love that phrase – he ‘unforced rhythms of grace!’ Naturally, I tend to fall easily into a place where I drive hard, push hard, go at life at high speed. I have regrets from moments where I pressed for solution when I should have waited. But, I also know the joy of waiting on the Lord, remaining at a place attentive to His voice, and seeing Him bring answers that are “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Eph 3:20)
So those situations that wore me out yesterday are still here this morning, but my perspective is new, my heart renewed. Are you weary today? Do you wonder if you can take another day, if you can endure one more day with that person, in that place, or dealing with that ‘problem’ without losing your mind?
Let me urge you to take a “Jesus” break. Carve time for personal worship into that busy schedule. Perhaps your prayer will just be the whispered words, “Help me, Jesus.” He hears. So, breath deep, and wait, and listen, and “you’ll recover your life” He promises. I hope you have a friend or two who will just listen and love without judgment, kindly being “Jesus with skin on” for you.
Later this week, break away from the grind to be among other Christians in corporate worship, attending to worship with your full attention. In worship, you will find that His demands are not those of a cruel tyrant. Don’t think of Him like that, for if you do, bitterness will creep into your heart. Instead, thank Him for fitting you for service, and for His promise of renewal of strength.
Here is a word from the Word.
“But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.”
(Isaiah 40:31, The Message)
Jesus I am resting resting
In the joy of what Thou art
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee
And Thy beauty fills my soul
For by Thy transforming power
Thou hast made me whole
Simply trusting Thee Lord Jesus
I behold Thee as Thou art
And Thy love so pure so changeless
Satisfies my heart
Satisfies its deepest longings
Meets supplies its ev’ry need
Compasseth me ’round with blessings
Thine is love indeed
Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee
Resting ‘neath Thy smile Lord Jesus
Earth’s dark shadows flee
Brightness of my Father’s glory
Sunshine of my Father’s face
Keep me ever trusting resting
Fill me with Thy grace