“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
My body, mind, heart and soul hurt after surviving a 60% company layoff and facing an impending office move. “Survivor’s guilt”, losing the daily companionship of so many friends, and the prospect of cleaning out and packing up the office for our move the following week made me want to go home, put on my pajamas, curl up with a book and sleep. I just wanted to escape all of life's responsibilities and disappointments.
Then I started thinking about the life of Jesus. Once he started his ministry, he did not have a day to rest. There was no time for pajama days and mindless escapes. Even when he did get away from the crowds, he was actively praying on behalf of humanity, seeking to find out what he should do next. For three years, he was walking, preaching, teaching, healing and traveling, every – single – day. Just think about it: everyone wanted a piece of him, from the Pharisees who criticized everything he did and were actively plotting against him, to mobs of people who crowded around him grabbing at his robe and asking for miracles everywhere he went, to his own family who thought he had gone crazy. He had to have been so tired!
In Mark 4:40, the disciples woke him from a deep sleep as a storm raged around them. I can just imagine his weary, sleep-laden voice saying, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They saw him do miracles every day but missed the full extent of God’s plan. No storm could have taken him from this world before his mission was finished, and they were safe as long as they were with him.
As I think of Jesus walking among the people and all he endured, his humanity comes to life more vividly in my mind. When I compare the temporary demands and stresses of my life to the life he lived – not even counting the suffering of the Cross – I can’t help but think, what a man! What a God! What a Savior! Knowing his time here was short, he persevered in spite of continual fatigue, threats, pain and persecution. Only the greatest love the world has ever known could have compelled him to do that for me…and for you. That love is what kept him going. He knew he would not rest again until he got back home to Heaven where Glory awaited him; but he also knew the end would come and our fate was at stake. While he was here, he had work to do…
Prayer: Dearest Jesus, thank you for what you did for me. My limited understanding can barely scratch the surface of all that you endured to make my salvation possible. Please draw me closer to you and teach me your truth. Holy Spirit, live in me and through me so that others will want to know you because of the evidence they see of You living in me. Forgive me when I fail you and fill me with a greater sense of your purpose for my life. Help me to stay focused on you, to serve you more fully and less selfishly, and cause me to be more sensitive to the needs of those around me. I ask all of this in Jesus’ name, with endless love, praise and gratitude, amen.
“Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind.’ And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.’” Mark 3:20-22
“Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’” Matthew 8:20
“That day when evening came, [Jesus] said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’” Mark 4:35-41