Some days it feels like if it’s not one thing then it’s another. I’m burdened by stress, worry, or even anger, and I just keep wondering when I’m going to get a break. And during these times, a question usually always arrives at the forefront of my thoughts; if I’m doing what God wants me to do, then why don’t I have any of the rest He has promised me in His Word? There’s a simple answer, but sometimes it takes me a while to get around to admitting the truth. The reason I haven’t come to Jesus for rest is, sadly enough, because I don’t want to.
God Desires Us To Rest
We know that God desires us to have rest in Him. In Mark 6, Jesus sends out His disciples to be witnesses to the towns of Israel. He instructed them to preach that men should repent, and He gave them authority over unclean spirits and to heal the sick. But when they returned from doing the work that Jesus had given them to do, the first thing we see Him do is to give them rest. Verses 30 through 32 say this:
“The apostles gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught. And He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.’ (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves.”
God Provides Us Rest
In these verses we see a clear picture of Jesus providing rest for His disciples. The great thing about Jesus coming in the form of a man is that He can relate to our human needs and weaknesses. But what I believe we can overlook is the fact that Jesus said “come.” He didn’t say stop what you’re doing and rest. He didn’t say find something that can distract you from your work and rest. He didn’t say meditate or relax or sleep. He said “come.” True rest can only be found when we rest in Jesus. It can only be found when we follow Him to the point of rest.
So now we are back to the problem we started with. Why is it that we can find it so hard to come to Jesus and find rest? The answer is that we don’t want to. We want to avoid coming to Him with our struggles for as long as possible. Why? Because in order to come to Jesus we must be willing to repent, and we don’t like being humbled to the point of repentance. We don’t want to have to admit to Jesus that we have fallen short, and in our pride we don’t want to admit to ourselves that we need help. But the truth is that we do need help. We need His help, and we always will.
Repent and Return
Acts 3:19 says, “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” God desires to give you rest. That’s why Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” If you need rest today then lay down your pride. Lay down your worries, your fears, and your sins at the feet of Jesus. He is faithful and just to forgive (1 John 1:9), and He desires us to take part in His rest. When we admit that we need Him and we repent of our sins (even unrepentant past sins that we have tried to ignore), we are able to come to Him and follow Him to that secluded place and rest.