Listen: Show Me Rest
Read: Ps 116:1-9, Matt 11:28-30
One of my favorite children’s books growing up was, “Are you my Mother?” by PD Eastman. The book depicts an inquisitive baby bird who hatches while its mom is out finding food. Given there was no bird for the baby bird to imprint on, the baby bird decides to leave the nest and discover who he belongs to. What follows is a grand adventure where the baby bird goes from animal to animal asking, “Are you my mother?” Don’t worry, the baby bird finally figures it out!
Now, in my life, I am not searching for a bird – but what I am frequently searching for is “Rest.” Can anyone relate? Maybe I’m still dealing with the effects of change from 2020, or maybe it’s because I am in my final semester of a six year journey through grad school. Like that baby bird, my mind goes from place to place asking, “Are you my rest?”
The song was written by a few of us on the worship team, and wrestles with this concept of rest. Rest is something we all desire. This could be relationally, vocationally, spiritually; we long for a place of steadiness, security, and wholeness. Both passages today talk about rest. In the Psalm, the author writes, “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” In Matthew, Jesus says, “Come to me all who are weary, and I will give you rest.” What I find interesting about both these verses is that “rest” is not found in the absence of something, but in the presence of God. During Lent, I can be so focused on giving up something that I forget that the purpose of giving up something is to fill that time by focusing on God’s presence. When I do, I am reminded that yes the cords of death entangle me, yes I am overcome with sorrow, but even there, God is gracious and compassionate. Even in the valley of the shadow of death, I can return to rest, not because I am a great Christian, but because Jesus is here with me. His grace is there when I’m overwhelmed, and in kindness he wipes the tears from my eyes and steadies my feet from stumbling.
I do not know exactly what you are walking through right now, but my hunch is that either you are longing for rest or know someone who is longing for rest. Jesus hears our cries, he sees our longing, and says, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” When we surrender and fix our eyes on Jesus, we’ll find that Jesus is the “rest” we’ve been looking for. Jesus is the one who we belonged to all along.
This weekend, is there an area in your life where you are looking for rest? What would it look like to surrender that area to Jesus? Is there a way you can remind yourself to trust Jesus with that area this week?
by Pastor Aashish Baskaran