Rest and Relief

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“Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.”

(Matthew 11:28-30)

Reflection:
This call of Jesus is so relevant for our world today. In work, family life, relationships and personal issues the battle lines are showing in eyes, on faces and in body language. And those who claim that there is no God aim to take away from people the only hope that they have, as their inner lives crumble and implode and they despair even of themselves with their shattered hopes and contaminated spirits.

But it is at just such moments that Jesus sends His whisper into our hearts as if to say, “Hey, I am here. Come – try Me!” It is followed by such comforting and appealing words, “for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

We need those words, because so often we are afraid that Jesus might storm into our lives as He did into the Temple in Jerusalem, wielding a plaited whip, overturning the tables of our existence and driving out every dark thought, deed and failure  as we cringe terrified and sobbing in the corner. And yet, that is at such odds with the picture of Him that appears in His dealings with the lost and lonely as He met them on the road. His gentle understanding of the pain of the woman at the well, His compassionate dealing with the trembling shame of the woman caught in adultery, His heart-lifting stories of the lost son who came stumbling home and the Shepherd searching out the lost sheep. His cry from the cross, “Father, forgive them…” This is the Jesus who calls us.

He calls us not just for a hug and a few words of encouragement. He calls us to Himself, to live with Him and to have Him live with us. He calls us to a shared life where we will learn to surrender the yoke that we carry and to replace it with one that He gives us. It attaches us to Him and He carries the major part of it as He leads and guides us forward. We learn to move at His pace, to walk His road in His way and to rest when He does. He calls us so that He can cleanse and re-build our lives – and open for us the doors and windows of our spirits to the life-cleansing, life-giving and life-changing presence of  God. He calls us to forgiveness, healing, refreshing and the offer of having ‘another go at life’ with Him.

There is no one other than Jesus in all His power, glory and love, who could possibly say this to you, and mean it.

Response:
In a quiet moment turn to Jesus, tell Him of your weariness and burdens, and tell Him that you’ve come home. Ask Him to walk you forward in His way.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I am sometimes so tired, weary, disappointed and distressed. As I turn to You please reach out to me and, with Your arm around me, walk me forward. Thank You so much. Amen.

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