I remember seeing an interview with the singer Sarah McLaughlin. Some kid had phoned in asking for advice, telling Sarah that she was an inspiration and role model. Taken aback, Sarah responded, “Me? I’m the most screwed up person I know.”
Jesus had no such qualms. In fact Jesus said just the opposite about Himself.
“Come to Me,” He said. “Learn from Me. I can give you life.”
What a statement!
“I can give you rest for your souls.” “I will give you an abundant life.” “I will give you peace - not peace like the world gives but real piece.” "If you let Me, I will save your souls."
When people talk of exhaustion, being overwhelmed, drowning, the problem is obvious. Our load is too great. We either need to increase our strength or find a means of lightening our load.
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I Am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Jesus diagnosed the problem of a weary soul as a soul not properly aligned to Him. The solution? “Come to Me. Follow Me. Become like Me.” Get back into proper alignment. All around Him Jesus saw souls who for one reason or another had wandered away and needed to return to Him. On our own we are like sheep without a Shepherd, looking to mood altering chemicals, relationships, eating disorders, wealth, power, and keeping busy - always busy and all the while drifting further and further from the safety of His love.
“Take My yoke upon you” is just the opposite of adding to our load. In fact it is a means of off-loading our burden. To find rest for our soul is to rest IN Jesus. To rest in Jesus is to abandon all results to Him, accepting that we do not have within ourselves the power, the wisdom nor the insight to make our lives turn out as they should. In fact, rest for our soul begins with the admission that our efforts have only made matters worse.
Trying to control our lives is the opposite of 1st Peter 5:5-7,10
“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
We cannot exist in humility and attempt to be in control of our lives.
We cannot humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand while telling God that we are going to do life our way.
We cannot cast all our anxieties and worries on Jesus while grasping for control of our lives and worrying about outcomes.
Longing for predictable outcomes is simply not part of the Christian walk.
We have no choice but to rest in His plan for us, secure in the knowledge of His love and protection. To not rest in this type of trust cannot do anything but lead us away from Jesus and into pagan wisdom which is no wisdom at all. To allow our desires / will to drive our decisions is to invite our own destruction and our own inability to find rest for our souls. The desire to be in control of our own lives cannot help but cause an alienation from God.
Really, when you think about it, what have you got to lose? Just come to Jesus and enjoy the rest of your time on earth.