“Come to me,” he calls, “All you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
I will refresh you.
I will revive you.
I will cause you to rest.
That last verb can be translated all of those ways. Rest is not something Jesus gives us apart from himself. It’s not a parcel that we can go off somewhere and unwrap. Rest only happens in the arms of Jesus. As Darrell Johnson often translates Jesus’ words, “Come to me . . . and I will rest you.”
I’ve had lots of moments this week of wanting to climb up on the lap of the One who welcomed children to sit on his knee, the One who promises to carry us from birth to death. “To enter the kingdom of heaven you must become like a child,” he says. “Make your home in my love,” he invites.
Want to join me there in his arms for a few minutes? His knee has space for many to snuggle in.
He reaches down to lift me up and sets me sideways on his lap. I lean into him, feeling his lap solid beneath me, the gentle roughness of his sweater against my face. His sweater, today, is the rich brown of fresh-turned earth. I feel safe with his strong arms around me, his warm, work-roughened hand gently holding my head to his chest, dimming the outside noise and helping me hear the soothing tune of his heartbeat: lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub.
His chest rises and falls with each breath, rocking me. I’m safe here in his arms, safe and warm and secure.
In and out he breathes. I rock with him, settling, beginning to breath more deeply too. His sweater smells fresh like the spring buds of the balsam poplar.
He rests his cheek against the top of my head, treasuring me, and I feel my hair flutter each time he exhales. He begins to hum a gentle tune, a lullaby of delight.
“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with his love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
This Post Has 7 Comments
What a blessing to read this today. I need to be quieted with His love. He is with me and He is mighty to save. Thank you Carolyn.
Much grace to you today, Elaine. May you know Jesus holding you close.
Your post came at the perfect time. Thank you for sharing from your heart so openly and honestly. Just this past Sunday, our pastor preached on Sabbath rest, and the words and thoughts you’ve shared have reinforced the idea that I need to rest in His tender care. The image of myself in His lap, embraced and held close to His heart, has been an image that has given me comfort over the years, but I haven’t opened myself up to that idea or entered into it as much as I could. I so need to know that He loves me in an all-encompassing way. I’ve always been drawn to Zephaniah 3:17. We chose that verse to put on my two-year old daughter’s gravestone after she lost her battle against a rare disease and went on to the comforting presence of Jesus. To know she is safe in His arms, free from the suffering that marked so much of her life, gives us reassurance and hope. So again, thank you for responding to God’s call to share what He’s teaching you! Tammy Gonzalez
Dear Tammy, Thank you so much for sharing a little of your story. Isn’t it interesting how hard it can be for us to open up to Jesus’ tender love even when we want and need it so much? I find myself returning over and over again to a line from a prayer, “Let me not run from the love which you offer.” May you know Jesus holding you close and delighting in you today!
(PS—David Flemming’s whole prayer, from which that line comes, is here if you want it: http://soulstream.org/daily-prayers/)
Thanks for your response. I’m so new to understanding how all this works that I didn’t even know till today that you had replied! I appreciate your vulnerability and the deep insights you share as you process life and grow deeper into God and his love.
Carolyn, thank you for your beautiful post today on rest. I needed to read that today. My husband and I are enjoying our retirement on a small sheep farm in Northwest Arkansas. I love the lifestyle but have been feeling overwhelmed with all that needs to be done outdoors this time of year., plus what needs to be done indoors. I hear Jesus speaking to me to slow down and rest and enjoy the simple moments on the farm, watching the animals and the sunsets and the plants growing out of the ground. I’m glad I stopped by your blog.
Thanks for introducing yourself, Peggy. I’m glad you stopped by too!