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Jesus’ Reliable Promise to Give Rest for the Weary

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28

Can you think of a time in your life when you were worry free? I can only remember one short period with no major concerns. That was in the late 1970s when I took what I thought was my dream job in Tampa, Florida. But I soon discovered that with greater income came a heavier weight of responsibility.

Life’s burdens sometimes take us to the breaking point causing us to think we can’t go on. Our minds become overloaded with complex problems and painful circumstances over which we have no control.

Those burdens produce extreme fatigue, inability to think clearly, and physical sickness. Unfortunately, this is where some of us turn to destructive remedies like drugs, alcohol, or suicide.

For whatever reason, even the Christian community looks for relief from sources other than those prescribed by God. But why? Is it because we don’t really buy into Biblical instruction? Or possibly it’s because the problem is too great to WAIT on the Lord.

Jesus said, “Come to me.” Then He promises, “I will give you rest.” The apostle Paul refers to this as “the peace that passes all understanding.”

Yes, it’s true Jesus’ promise refers to His offer of eternal life. But we don’t have to wait for the afterlife to experience the Lord’s rest. It’s available now.

I’ve shared the following story before, and every time I tell it, I receive feedback from others who tell me it has encouraged them. Hopefully it will be a blessing to you.

Several years ago, I hit a series of painful vocational setbacks. In the midst of the difficulties came the news my wife had cancer.

When the doctor pronounced her diagnosis, we were confronted with some frightening possibilities. For the next year she would undergo many tests, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Her future well-being and survival were uncertain.

The following day at work, I was distracted by anxiety. Needed to be alone to think and pray. So I left the building and went for a drive with no destination in mind.

Overwhelmed with emotion, I pulled into the parking lot of a small shopping mall. Parked the car and wept. And then I called out to God. There was no eloquence in my speech. I literally cried out to Him to help us and heal Janet.

Within minutes calm came over me, a comforting sense everything would be all right.

From that day forward, my anxiety turned to healthy concern. Meanwhile, Janet experienced that same peace, and for the year that followed we were confident God had everything under control.

About midway through her treatment, I landed in the hospital with a gall bladder attack. During the x-ray procedure a suspicious lump was discovered in my esophagus. Tests confirmed, “cancer off the charts.”

But, I didn’t worry. Believed God would take care of us. And He did. A year after her diagnosis, Janet was declared cancer free. Soon after, I too was given the green light.

Then came a few more bumps in the road. I was fired from my job of 7 years. The following day, Janet was involved in an accident that totaled our car. Thank the Lord, she wasn’t hurt. Next day, our house caught on fire. Fortunately, damage was confined to a bathroom.

Ten years have passed since our year of trials in 2007. Climbing out of that pit of adversity wasn’t pleasant or easy. But we survived, came out better than before.

God is real and completely reliable. Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Yes, the Bible tells me so. But personal experience confirms it.

Take your burdens to him. As the old preachers used to say, “Let go, and let God!” At the instant you begin to feel anxiety in the pit of your stomach — use that as your cue to turn to Jesus. Pour out your heart to Him and then turn the problem over to Him. Ask Him to give you the rest He has promised.

When you are weary and burdened take Jesus at His word. “Come to him.” He “will give you rest.”

For more on this topic, check out this article: How to Manage Anxiety

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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