“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Our minds race, our heart beats faster. We are almost in panic mode over even the smallest things. When we are overwhelmed with life, we begin to come undone. It might be the test that we didn’t remember to study for until it’s too late, the boyfriend who said he would call and didn’t, when a storm knocks out the television signal during one of our favorite shows…The list of things that cause us to be restless is never ending.
When our daughter Wells was a baby she cried and cried. She did not rest well. We tried everything we could think to calm her down and help her rest. We tried different pacifiers, long car rides, soft music—as crazy as it may seem, we even tried placing her in her car seat on top of the clothes dryer.
We knew she needed rest (and so did we), but we couldn’t get her to rest. Everyone needs rest and we do not flourish without it. Finally we found the one thing that would enable Wells to rest—our touch and embrace. When we would hold her in our arms or pat her back as she lay in her crib, it would quiet her down and help her to rest.
Many nights we would rock her to sleep in our arms and then try to place her gently in her crib without waking her. When she no longer felt our touch, she would wake up, grow restless and begin to let us know just how unhappy she was. We would then start the patting—we’d pat her back until she quieted down. Our patting rhythm would grow slower and slower until she was fast asleep. Then we would carefully exit her room—hopefully without making a sound.
This is but a glimpse of the way God, our Father, cares for us. God has come to us in the flesh in person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is Immanuel—the God who is with us and the God who is like us.
Jesus understands the restlessness of our hearts. He knows how easily we spiral out of control and become overwhelmed by all sorts of anxiety. Jesus does not scold us for our restlessness and our lack of reliance upon Him. No, He comes to us and He invites us to come to Him. He is so gentle and loving. He alone can give us the real rest that our hearts need.
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.