I can think of many things that I hold onto in life. Hands, memories, relationships, grudges. But I can’t think of too many things I’ve let go over the years. I want to wonder why. I want to steal away into the wilderness and contemplate long and hard without distraction until I’ve come to the root of this. However, I know that’s just my dramatic side coming out. I know that deep down, the cause is readily apparent. I think you have an idea of what lies underneath as well. So, come with me and explore.
“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.” — Matthew 11:28–29
What’s so heavy?
I don’t think if I can read this passage enough. Nearly every day seems like another attempt to pile on some more emotional baggage or physical burden on top of the mountain on my back. With each sunrise comes new mercy, but also the possibility to overextend myself further. If I stay busy, then I’m important. The busier I am, the more important I am as well. Also, with busyness comes a sense of control. I’ve chosen to keep busy with this set of activities and they take up most or all of my time. Therefore, I am in control and my life is on track. Yes, but so was the Titanic.
I’m strong enough
I’m sure you are strong enough. But for how long? See, we don’t know the true strength of anything until it’s broken and oftentimes irreparable. You and I may be strong enough today, but I don’t want to wait till the day when I find out that’s no longer true. I don’t want to find out after that I can no longer be fixed. I don’t want to find our it’s too late. And what is it that I’m trying to prove, anyway?
What means this “rest”?
Sure, I didn’t sleep all that well last night, but surely I don’t want to be put out to pasture. That’s not at all what is meant here. In my quest for control and security, I’m never done. Always striving for more. Frantic. It’s from this that Jesus here is promising rest. It’s from the rat race He promises to deliver. It’s from the weariness of a heart always seeking and never finding that He saves. See, no longer do we need to increment our control over the world around us. We have another who is for us, kind and loving and far more capable who’s won this battle already for us. But, herein lies the catch-22 of our need for control.
The vice of control
Control, like greed, begs us to always strive for more. We are never content with the degree of which we’ve attained. For us to give up control, we need to feel a sense of control in the transfer. we need a little security. How can we be secure in a God we cannot see or feel? This question only reveals my blindness. No, I cannot see God with my eyes, nor can I feel Him with my fingertips. But, I can see Him, feel Him, experience Him with my soul. As can you. With our hearts we can reach right out and touch Him. It’s because of all this I know He is good. It’s because of what I’ve seen, felt and experienced in my heart that I am certain He is good and loving. It’s because of all this that I’m finding security in letting go, giving up.
There are so many things in our lives today that augment our sense of control. I fear these words fall on deaf ears, yet I must speak. I’ve grown tired of always more. I’ve become weary of the ever-increasing burden of control. I no longer wish to take it all. I suspect some of you are feeling similarly. It’s time you came to reckoning with the goodness and love of our Father. He wants to give you rest and peace. There are no strings attached. There is no catch. He wants your best. And that best is Him loving you. Our accepting that only starts with our letting go.