Jesus can give us rest by carrying our pain and shame

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28.

I don’t believe any of us would disagree that life is very busy. So much to do and so little time to do it. We are constantly on the go. I know I’m young, but I grew up during a time when Sunday was still considered a day for rest. A day when we stopped all the hustle and bustle of jobs, chores, achievements and schedules. And for our family it was a day to focus our attention upon God and a time for worship. Today much has changed. Our jobs and school activities seem to have taken priority over worship and church, and I can’t help but wonder, why is that? Personally, I understand many people are just trying to get by and want to support their children, but not only does the body need exercise, the mind needs to learn and money is needed to feed the family, but the soul also needs time to rest. It is into this stressed out society that Jesus says to each and to all come to me and I will give you rest. Rest from the fear and worry that fills our minds and hearts daily. Rest from the pain and loneliness that we tend to hide underneath the facade of success and achievements. More and more people seem depressed and very few appear happy. My heart breaks to see so many who are hurt and so many lost and alone. I believe firmly with all my heart that God only wants the best for us. That this life is supposed to be joyful and hopeful. Perhaps we have filled it with too many unnecessary things and its time to re-assess our priorities.

I remember a story about a pastor who was walking down the streets of Chicago. As he walked along we was taken aback by the sight of so many people who were in such a hurry to get to the next place and do the next thing. In the midst of the crowds and the calendar chaos the pastor caught a glimpse of a young woman. Her face was full of sadness and her arms were wrapped around her body as if the only person who give her a hug was herself. It was only a second and then she was gone. The pastor could only weep for her and pray that God would remember her name and grant rest from the pain of a broken heart. I can believe that young girl is not alone. So many are tired of carrying the pain or shame and trying to avoid it by filling our days and burying our pain. Please friends, it’s time to rest and Jesus wants us to know we don’t have to carry it anymore; we can give it to him and he will take all that darkness and fear far away so our hearts may finally be at peace. The Lord bless you and fill your days with his rest.

The Rev. Brian Dykema is the pastor of the Johnstown Reformed Church.