Rest for the Spiritually Weary

KATIE POLSKI|CONTRIBUTOR About seven years ago, I cleaned out my parent’s house, my childhood home. It took about a month to declutter, box up various belongings, and then fix, paint, and re-carpet the house to sell. Through the years, I’d heard folks talk about similar circumstances and the stress that accompanies this stage in life, and while I felt sympathy, I felt little empathy. Their exhausted faces connected only as a distant reality. But then at age 35, with three young kids in tow, it was no longer a future prospect. My father passed away, and my mother was incapacitated and needed a better environment for around the clock care. I don’t remember a more vexing time than this. On day one of cleaning out, I was savoring every fork and every dish towel. I wanted to find a home for everything. By day fourteen, I hated all the forks. I cried over letters I found from my father, poured over old pictures of less weighty days, and debated what items were valuable. Eventually, I threw away all the forks. When the “sold” sign was displayed in the front lawn and the last box taken to Goodwill, a friend called and said, “You need a vacation.” I was tired, yes, and a trip out of town seemed appropriate. But the kind of rest that accompanies a vacation wasn’t ultimately the kind of rest I needed. My soul longed for deep, spiritual rest. I spent months questioning the Lord’s plan, neglecting time in His Word, and suppressing frustration toward my simultaneous responsibilities as a daughter and a young mother. In short, I was spiritually weary. Reasons We Become Spiritually Weary Life’s burdens can be overwhelming, but they don’t automatically lead to spiritual weariness. Because of this, it’s important to acknowledge some of the reasons we get to this point. Neglect of Physical Rest - Jesus Himself physically rested on several occasions. He is fully God and fully man, yet without sin. So, when he fell asleep in a boat (Luke 8), and when He left the crowds to be alone to talk with His Father (Luke 5:16), Jesus was not doing anything wrong nor was He displaying weakness. The Creator did what was good and right to do. Jesus rested. Neglecting physical rest can too easily lead to spiritual weariness. We become so work obsessed that our computers stay open until late hours, and the hamster wheel becomes so routine, we begin to idolize our busyness. Physical rest is never a waste of time and neglecting it can leave us feeling spiritually dry...

Rest for the Spiritually Weary2022-05-04T23:16:40+00:00

Light Palms, Heavy Burden

AIMEE JOSEPH|GUEST Palm Sunday. The expectant people lined the streets, praising Jesus and quoting from Psalm 118 as he approached in peace. The people knew he was the Messiah, the Sent One, the One coming to save them. Thus, they shouted “Hosanna” which means “Save us, now!” (Matt. 21:6–11). They waved light palms as he approached history’s heaviest burden. Their praise presupposed that Jesus would establish God’s people in peace politically and do so immediately. They had visions of the once-flourishing reign of David. Their hopes soared with high expectations that Jesus would usher in a new golden era. However, within a week’s time, it would become clear to these same crowds that Jesus had plans to usher in a very different kingdom. As a result of these missed expectations, their praises faded quickly into shouts of “Crucify him!” in a matter of days. We are not unlike them; our praise quickly turns cold and bitter when our expectations are not met in our way and on our timetable. As we approach Holy Week, we are invited to search for the semblances of our own hearts in the fickle crowds. Jesus rode into Jerusalem through a tunnel of praises that came from the mouths of those who would soon chant “Barabbas!” (Matt. 27:15–23). They cheered his approach with a light and airy joy, but he alone knew he was marching on to his death. His patient restraint and resolve as he approached an unthinkable burden only further shows the purity of his goodness and love. His Burden A King approaching in peace, In humility He rode on, Onlookers cheering him, Expecting a new dawn. The Scriptures foretold it, Yet none of them could see, The dawn would begin with The God-Man hung on a tree. The Messiah was coming, To bring His kingdom to bear; But of the coronation of tears, None but Jesus was aware. “Hosanna! Save us!” they cried, As hopes and palms were raised. “Finally the kingdom’s come, May Jesus’ name be praised!” He heeded not their fanatical cries, For he well knew the heart of men, From “Crown Him” to “Crucify,” The voices would be raised again...

Light Palms, Heavy Burden2022-05-04T23:14:32+00:00

Where do Your Burdens Carry You?

Our burdens carry us somewhere. Where do your burdens carry you?  2 Corinthians 12 records a burden Paul carried, a thorn in his flesh. Three times Paul pleaded with God to remove it. But to keep Paul humble, God would not remove it. Paul’s response was to see his suffering as a reason for rejoicing because it revealed Christ’s power at work. “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:10) A Present-Day Example When I think of people today who have carried burdens for long periods of times, I think of Joni Eareckson Tada. If you have read any of her books you know that Joni attempted a dive into shallow water in the Chesapeake Bay. The moment her head crunched against the sand bottom, she knew she was in trouble. She recalls feeling like her life was over when she learned she was permanently paralyzed. Joni was a Christian at the time and spent those early months praying for healing, getting anointed with oil, confessing every sin that she could recall and attending one healing service after another, until finally she whimpered, “I cannot live this way. I’m so lost. God, show me how to live.” Her burdens drove her to Christ where for over 50 years she has lived in a wheelchair, and describes her life as dying daily to self and rising with Jesus. Joni wrote this about her life: “A ‘no’ answer to my request for a miraculous physical healing has meant purged sin, a love for the lost, increased compassion, stretched hope, an appetite for grace, an increase of faith, a happy longing for heaven, a desire to serve, a delight in prayer, and a hunger for His Word. Oh, bless the stern schoolmaster that is my wheelchair!” The thorn in Joni’s side has never been removed. Her burden carried her straight to Christ’s arms...

Where do Your Burdens Carry You?2022-05-04T23:36:23+00:00

Come to Me: Hope for the Weary and Burdened

When I was child, our house was broken into. I’ll never forget the circumstances that surrounded that event, and the details have left an imprint: the broken glass, the back door opened, the silver moved, the speakers turned over, and the cops roaming the house. Though there was disturbance, it didn’t take us long to notice that nothing was actually taken. The intruder claimed to see a “hoard of men” walking toward the house, so he left everything and ran out the back door. With fresh snow on the ground, and no footprints to see, we have always believed that the “hoard” were angels protecting our home from what could have been a great loss. As an adult, I can see God’s provisions all over this event, but as a child, the break-in caused tremendous fear. I went to bed that night with tears streaming down my face, trying to sort through the array of emotions I felt. I remember my dad coming in and checking on me. He must have noticed my tears and sensed my fear because he sat on the bed and took me into his arms. I put my head against his chest while he said several times, “I’m here.” In what felt like turmoil, my father’s loving grip and his reassuring words were all I needed to finally fall asleep. Come to Me and Rest This is the memory that comes to mind when I read Jesus’ words from Matthew 11: 28-30: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  

Come to Me: Hope for the Weary and Burdened2022-05-07T23:25:48+00:00
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