All of us are human, and all of us become tired – even exhausted – from time to time. Whether the condition is physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, each has its own effects and its own path to recovery. Sometimes recuperation takes only a few hours or days. Sometimes it requires greater patience and additional rehabilitation or rejuvenation. Sometimes, however, the effect lingers on and on, rendering us unable to return to our previous state of health.
And when the fatigue is emotional or spiritual, recovery may seem forever beyond our reach.
Any adult who has lived on this earth for any period of time has experienced both the good and the bad of human relationships. Love – and a broken heart. Success – and failure. Joy – and loss.
We do not intend to become emotionally or spiritually exhausted, but it happens.
We hope for the best, and we want the best, but there is someone else who is part of the relationship. Perhaps it is a loved one. Perhaps it is a friend. Perhaps it is an employer or other important figure in our personal or professional life. Regardless of who it is, the pendulum of life is constantly in motion, and, despite what we consider to be our best efforts, the other gives up – or walks away – or dies.
And we are left behind, stunned and shattered.
Regardless of how the situation may appear to others, we truly believe that we will never be the same again.
Brokenness is not something we want to experience. Rejection, whether intentional or beyond anyone’s control, and whether sudden or taking place over time, is not what we expect from the people closest to us. Even those who may anticipate that they will eventually be hurt or abandoned are often left speechless when it actually happens.
This is why Jesus gave us the words – and the promise – in Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV): “Come to Me, all you 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.”
During the time Jesus lived among us, the crowds to which He spoke were subjected to laws, decrees, rules, and regulations that, together, seemed insurmountable. Whether imposed by Rome or rabbis, and whether enforced by soldiers or the Sanhedrin, there was simply no way to be good enough or do well enough. And so Jesus spoke of labor and weariness – but He also spoke of rest.
Come to Me, the Son of God said, and I will give you rest for your soul.
Follow Me, He promised, and you will find peace.
Unlike the burdens of this fallen world, the requirements of the Kingdom of God, that is, love of God and love of others (Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-31, Luke 10:25-37), already exist within every human heart. Moreover, the One who will judge has a divine gentleness unlike any earthly ruler and came not to condemn but to save (John 3:16-17). Yes, Jesus could be harsh – and dramatically so – with those who tried to mislead or take advantage of His Father’s children (John 2:13-17, Matthew 23:1-36), but doing so served to underscore, and also to foreshadow, how far our Savior was willing to go to obtain our release.
In this world, we will have trials and tribulations. We will experience heartbreak and loss. We will be rejected and abandoned. Being a follower of Jesus Christ is not a guarantee that we will be spared such difficulties but rather a promise that we will overcome them and prevail. How? Through Him and with Him. Why? Because He has already overcome the world (John 16:33).
No matter what you are going through at this moment in time, know that God is with you – and for you – and in you. No matter what your circumstances are or seem to be, He, and He alone, can give you rest – and peace – and victory.
And He will.
-- Dr. John Morris