Troubled: Times of Refreshment and Renewal

I am tired this morning. I didn’t get enough sleep, and the sleep I did get was restless. My dog and a child were also up in the night, so most of my sleeping time was tossing and turning. I watched a movie before bed which often affects how I sleep, maybe that added to restlessness. I also have had a crazy busy week and my house is messy. My life is a little messy too…cares of family matters, business matters, financial matters and faith matters. My mind is cluttered with the cares of the world, disjointed just as this writing is…I carry it all and it makes me weary.

 

I know I am not alone in this. Our world, no matter where you live or what your economic standing, has trouble. Yes, in our First World nation trouble is often cushioned by nice homes, plenty of food and plenty of diversions to distract us, but Jesus was not being facetious when He said, “In this world you will have trouble…” (John 16:33). He had those of us privileged to live in First World countries as those in developing ones. “Trouble” can entail broad ramifications.

 

I am supposed to be writing about rest and refreshment. So how do we “get” from the troubles of the world weighing heavy on us to this refreshment? Jesus didn’t only confirm the troubles of the world, He gave us a way to have peace amidst the troubles. The rest of John 16:33 states, “But take heart. I have overcome the world!”

 

I love The Message Bible’s translation of Matthew 11:28:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

 

So much can be unpacked from these verses!

 

First the questions, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out…?”

 

We need to acknowledge our weariness.

 

Jesus had just finished chastising the Pharisees for their unbelief and unrepentance and then turned his attention to the ordinary people who were hungry and attentive to him. He spoke their language, He knew their weakness, and He invited them to “come to me”, “Get away with me.” He does not want us to “go it” alone—He wants us to draw closer to Him.

 

He gives us instruction in this invitation: walk with me, watch me, learn from me.

 

When we draw close to Him, we see Jesus—God as man—who walked the earth with perfect intent, perfect purpose, living fully in what God would have him do. He ate, he slept, he prayed and rested. He tarried along the way and built relationships, healed the sick and encouraged the crowds. He did indeed walk in “unforced rhythms of grace”. Unforced, not striving but in tune with the Father, nothing “ill-fitting or heavy.”

 

Don’t we all at some time or another take on activities and projects and responsibilities that don’t fit us? Our personalities or our gifts and talents are then misapplied. We aren’t meant to take on our neighbor’s purpose or make our friend’s goals ours. We have our own path, which will often cross with others, but is well suited for us. When we stay close to Jesus He promises our purpose will fit us.

 

But, you say, “I know I am to walk the path I am on and I am tired and worn out and burnt out!” That happens too. Even when we walk on right paths, we may encounter struggles, temptations, and times when we are just plain tired. There is trouble in this fallen world! The invitation is the same; “Come to me.” Even better, “Get away with me.” We need times to draw away from the crowd and get a little closer to Jesus and Abba, Father.

 

When we are following Jesus we realize, as Jesus did, that we are in physical bodies that need rest and nourishment and relationship. Jesus rested from his work, took extended times for prayer and ate regular meals, as well as took time to fast. This is a model for us to follow!

 

As we walk with Jesus and talk with God we learn the unforced rhythms of grace. Quieting our hearts and strengthening our faith. Even in the midst of the activities of the day we can pause and “keep company” with Jesus. He is always with us and is standing at the door of our hearts waiting for us to let Him in. This doesn’t make all the troubles go away; it doesn’t always give us the answers or insight we crave, but this relationship can help us put things into perspective and give us refreshment. We gain a renewed eternal view having our minds, bodies, and spirits refreshed so we can enter back into the world with renewed purpose, energy and perspective.

 

Walk with Him today so that you, too, may walk in the unforced rhythms of grace.

 

Written by LOV Sister~

Martha Mason

 

 

Other Scriptures to ponder which talk of drawing close to God.

“Draw close to God and He will draw close to you.” James 4:8

“Here I am, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Revelation 3:20

“Let us draw near to God” Hebrews 10:22

“Seek the Lord while he may be found, call on Him while he is near” Isaiah 55:6

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