Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Abide: Finding Rest, Part 1

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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 shall find rest for your souls.”  (Matthew 11:28-29)

One aspect of abiding in Christ is learning to rest in Him and on His promises.  We live in a fast-paced society with incessant demands for our time and attention.  It is oh-so-easy to get distracted by technology and over-booked schedules, and sometimes our quiet time with the Lord begins to suffer. The “tyranny of the urgent” rears its ugly head, and suddenly we realize that it has been days (weeks?) since we have spent time in His word.  We wonder why we are exhausted and feel distant from God.  He has been there the whole time, but we were not abiding.

Notice in these two verses, that the Lord mentions twice that we need to be near Him to find rest.  

Come to Meand I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Meand you shall find rest for your souls.

I’m a city girl.  I’m not exactly well-versed in yokes and oxen.  I was paying attention during the American Pioneer unit in fourth grade, though, and know that a yoke is used to keep two oxen together as a team to help a farmer plow his field.  Those two animals are linked together at the neck, and become one unit that must work in unison.

If we take His yoke upon us, it means that we are agreeing to submit to His will and direction for our lives.  If we are yoked with Christ, we are by the very design of a yoke (metaphorically speaking), near Him.  Walking right next to Him, day by day, we begin to hear and recognize His voice a little better.  The longer we walk with Him, the closer we become, and the more we learn -- both about who He is, and His will for our lives.  When we yield to His will and direction for our lives, He gives us the ability and joy to do it, and thus we find rest and security in Him.

Since I’m not very familiar with yokes, I tried to think of a modern example that I can relate to, and came up with caravans.  We have probably all been a part of a caravan at some point.  A group of people in multiple cars needs to get to a specific destination, but not everyone knows the way.  A person who does know the way volunteers to be the leader, and we all agree to follow the leader.  As a driver in a caravan, your whole focus is to stay as close to the leader as you can…change lanes when he does, turn when he turns, and stop when he stops. You know that if you lose sight of your leader, you will be lost in unfamiliar territory and things will begin to unravel quickly.

I liked this example of the caravan, because of the picture it creates in explaining the need for a leader, the importance of staying close, and following and submitting to direction.  This picture begins to fall apart though, because while it is true that you will be lost if you lose sight of your leader, being a part of a caravan is stressful!  Lights turn red, cars cut in front of you, and while you do what you can to stay close, you are also bound by the law to obey all traffic rules.  Running a red light just to stay with your leader is not an acceptable option!  Knowing that you could suddenly find yourself lost and without direction is stressful, not restful.

Abiding is about resting!  I have been mulling this over in my mind for a couple of weeks, and trying to come up with a better example, and then…

…my son got his learner’s permit on Monday…

…and suddenly it clicked.

(Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 of Finding Rest!)

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