“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)
God has promised that He will give us rest when we are weary, and come to Him, but what exactly does this mean? Is He saying that He will take away the source of our problems, or does this promise include something much greater?
I have always enjoyed the picture that a painter once portrayed when asked to depict rest. Rather than painting a peaceful setting of a rustic cabin, nestled in the mountains and surrounded by a peaceful lake, he painted something completely different. On his canvas, he painted a thundering waterfall. Beneath the waterfall, was a fragile birch tree that was bending over the foam of the swirling water below. On the branch of this tree, just out of reach of the water, sat a bird perched on a little twig. The little bird was peacefully at rest, as it trilled a beautiful song of thanks to its Maker. The circumstance around him did nothing to affect his tranquility. The water still raged and threatened to destroy him, but he was grateful for his resting place. This is a beautiful picture of rest!
Rest is not the absence of storms or difficulties, but it is having a deep, inner peace in the midst of our storms. The “cabin setting” only signifies inactivity and stagnation, which is a picture of what can happen in our spiritual lives. We were never created to flourish only in the lush, green valleys. We were created to grow into something exquisite and of great eternal significance, while clinging to God’s hand, during a storm. God does something beautiful in our hearts and lives when we allow Him to calm us rather than demanding that He calms our storms!
Jesus is our greatest example. He lived one of the most painful and rejected lives, but the inner calmness that He possessed was as smooth as a sea of glass. He faced storm after storm until His worn body was laid in a tomb. The peace that permeated from His life was a result of His relationship with His Heavenly Father and not the absence of difficulties. Jesus came to earth so we also can possess this inner peace and rest that only comes from Him. Are you claiming His rest for the events that are surrounding your life today?
“Rest is not some holy feeling that comes upon us in church. It is a state of calm, rising from a heart deeply and firmly established in God.” (Henry Drummond)