Come to Me
October 2, 2013
I have few memories of my grandmother and her sister, Aunt Etta, who took care of me after school in first and second grade while my parents worked long hours at their business in Tampa, Florida back in the 1950s. One faint memory I have of my grandmother is an embroidered lavender and green on white handkerchief that she seemed to carry as her favorite and her shoes which were always Daniel Green slippers. It is funny what a small child remembers when they look back as an adult. My grandmother was small but mighty in attitude and faith. Her faith simply was never shaken. She knew God's promises and accepted life as it was and on she went into her 80s. One of the Bible verses I often here her whisper was from:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
Now I admit that up until recent events this week I perceived that to mean if we were brave and faithful in our struggles here on Earth that we would indeed be given rest at the end when we walked into Heaven. Nice, I thought, in years past, but I am exhausted now.
I never allowed my mind to translate another meaning of that verse. But when you look at the words a realization comes that rest given from God can occur anytime.
In recent weeks I have been asked to pray for a classmate, several classmates in fact, but this one in particular is one I like to refer to as "the Ever Ready Bunny." You see he seems to do things so well that he has found himself owning a business, serving as a pastor and actively organizing a class reunion, not to mention being a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend. I can only imagine that his brain is sputtering and his mind is on overload like one of those computers in a cartoon which starts going berserk and spitting out odd commands while lights flash brightly and then emits this errrrahhhhheeeeeek sound and a puff of smoke rises. When I spoke to this beloved friend I shared with him one main message. God wants you to REST. "But my doctor said I can resume normal activities", was his response. I laughed outloud and said, "You're not normal!" This man who is trying to maintain excellence in three areas at the same time is the same age as many of us who have retired and are sitting back and enjoying the simple, sweet things in life.
My gosh! I thought to myself~! I would spring a leak, bust a gut and blow a fuse too, if I was doing all he is doing. That's when the memory returned of my grandmother saying, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Bing! The light went on for me. Too many of us are like gerbils on a wheel spinning faster and faster and feeling as if we are going nowhere. How often that is true! We do not have to die to rest. Rest can come to us in small moments in our workday. When it is time for a scheduled break or lunch, we can arrange to spend time alone in a peaceful place and ask God to recharge our energies. When we have been through several weeks or months of non-stop challenges we can take a day of sick leave but instead of using it to do errands, we can take the morning to meditate and rest our minds. At the end of a day of work, instead of woofing down a quick meal and plopping ourselves in front of the television, we could consider a light snack of fresh fruit, cheese and crackers with refreshing water and then go to a bedroom for silent communication with God. God is with us all the time. He created our brains differently from any other living being in that we can freely choose to silence the world around us and to open up communication with God. In our normal daily schedules or our extended travels, God is with us and can give us the rest our souls, hearts and minds need so badly. But it is our choice and often we ignore God's presence and go running through life like gerbils on a wheel never pausing to stop and rest so we can be renewed, revived and repaired.
The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Years ago, while teaching Kindergarten, running a household and caring for my ailing mother I began to have recurring, massive migraine headaches, dangerously elevated blood pressure and 5 or 6 petit mal seizures daily. I was sitting in my classroom when all three happened at once and all I could tell the assistant was, "Call my husband!" I don't remember how I got to the emergency room or much else about that day except for what my neurologist said to me. "I am placing you in a private room for two days with no tv, no phones and no visitors. You are to remain quiet and to allow your brain to REST!" I had believed that I could handle anything. We know the familiar Bible verses: "I can do all things through Christ who is my strength" and the quote, "God never gives me more than I can handle."
Well, I agree! God does not give us more than we can handle but often we make our own pile of endless responsibilities and do little to understand that our minds and bodies are not super engines. Under stress they will fail. End of sentence. Period.
God never asked us to make a pile so high that we would destroy ourselves and for what? God asks us to lean on Him, to believe in Him and to come to Him when we are weary.
If you know someone whose burdens are heavy, please, give them the gift of permission to rest. It can literally save their lives and allow them to be lights for Christ a lot longer than if they burn themselves out like an overloaded computer system.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I come to you with the names of those who I know are working too hard and threatening their own well being. I ask you, Dear Lord, to touch their minds and hearts, their bodies with a healing balm of peace and comfort and to whisper to them,
" Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."
In Jesus' Precious Name,