Funny, isn’t it sometimes, when things come together in a way you wouldn’t have imagined? My Facebook feed has been burning up all day with images and remembrances and “We will never forget” videos of the horror that rocked our world on 9/11. And it really did rock our world.
My story is not much different from most other peoples’. I was not in New York, or at the Pentagon, or on a plane that day. I was at church with my daughter getting ready to take her to her first day at daycare when I heard what had happened. When it was clear this wasn’t a freak accident, I went home to follow the story. My husband was waiting to hear from his National Guard unit and find out when he was going to New York.
Like so many Americans, our lives changed.
The scripture I was to copy out today is from Matthew 11:28-30: “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.”
I know weary
My first thought was ‘yup, I am weary. I’ve been doing the single mom job all summer and I’m tuckered out.’ And I don’t know any moms with young kids who don’t feel that way. One friend recently posted that she hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in a looooong time. Most of us can relate. We are weary.
But I don’t think Jesus is talking just about being physically weary.
You know weary.
So many of us spend great amounts of energy trying to keep up with the Joneses in whatever way we want to be like them. Better house, better job, better body, better car, better this, better that. We feel inadequate if we don’t have it as put together as (insert name). And you know what?
Keeping up with the Joneses makes us weary.
We ALL know weary.
Perhaps it is even bigger than that. Perhaps Jesus is speaking to the weariness that infected our hearts on 9/11. Perhaps Jesus is speaking to the weariness that comes from wondering if we are safe. From wondering where the next mass shooting will be, when the next terrorist attack will be. Perhaps Jesus is speaking to the weariness that comes from knowing that all of our efforts to keep up with the Joneses could come crashing down on us at any minute, just like those two buildings did. I don’t know for sure.
But I do know this.
When Jesus invites us to take His yoke upon us, that yoke has nothing to do with the Joneses or what they are doing.
It has nothing to do with fear of shootings and attacks. It in an invitation to connect ourselves, to link arms with the God who created us, and to share with Him those fears that trouble our hearts and make us so weary. And what is the promise? The promise is that we will ‘find rest for (y)our souls’ (Matt 11:29).
Rest for your soul? I don’t know many people who would say they have that kind of rest – even though it is freely offered to us all day, every day. Most of us hold onto our burdens, but why? Would it not be better to share them with God who created us, Christ who died for us, or the Holy Spirit who dwells within us? Why carry that burden around?
Years ago I read somewhere that the thing that sets the saints apart is that they just know, deep down in the tips of their toes, how deep and profound God’s love for them is, so they are not burdened by the cares of the world. Ahh, that is a soul at rest.
As we remember the horrors of 9/11 and as you watch on Facebook the various remembrances going around I submit to you this: the horrors, the memories, the emotions are all very real and for many of us, still very raw. There is no better balm for the aches in our hearts than a meaningful relationship with God. He does not demand that You come to Him. He invites you to lock arms with Him, let Him carry some of the weight, and find rest for your soul. I can think of no better way to go through this life than walking arm in arm with God through the peaks and valleys. and sharing my heart with Him as I go.
I leave you with this, one of my favorite prayers: