“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 will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Jesus, the Christ
Something happened last night that I want to tell you about. Since things fell apart with our re-plant here, I’ve been looking for a job. One of the things I’ve done in the meantime is drive for Uber. While it’s not perfect, it’s flexible and, in a busy city like Nashville, one can actually make decent money doing it. So I drive people around at night.
Last night, my last trip for the night, I picked up a young man from a “party barge” here in Nashville. When I pulled up, his friends had to help him stand up. Typically, I have a strict rule that people who can’t stand under their own power because of intoxication can’t get in my car. I don’t want them puking in my car.
Be that as it may, last night I let it ride. He was a young man. I don’t know how old he was but he was young. His friends said, “Thank you for taking care of him,” loaded him in my back seat and off they went. I tried to engage him in conversation but he was do drunk he could barely speak.
And, for a few minutes, I had some not very nice things to say about that young man in my own head.
As I was turning into his neighborhood, he passed out. I heard the thump of him landing partially in the back floorboard. I stopped the car, pulled him into an upright position (glad I work out so I was strong enough to do that without throwing my back out!) and asked him if he was okay. He mumbled something and leaned against the window. When I got to his house, I had to physically help him walk, almost carrying him. We got to his front door and somehow he managed to type in the code on his lock and open the door. He leaned against the wall and slurred out, “Thank you so much,” and hugged me. When I stepped back, I looked into his eyes and there it was. Through the drunken stupor, I could see it.
I walked back to my car and prayed for that young man, that the Spirit would bring him to new life, that he would hear the good news about Jesus and repent and believe. And I’ve been thinking about all this all night last night and today. I don’t remember that young man’s name but I hope I meet him again someday. I want to ask his forgiveness for my condemnation of him.
Let me be clear. I am no different than him. Neither are you.
The truth is that we are all trying to drown our pain, our uncertainties, our fears. It might not be in booze but we’re all medicating ourselves with something. My medication isn’t booze. Right now, my medication is anger and sadness and self-loathing.
What’s yours? What is it that you are hiding, what pain are you carrying, what frustration keeps you up at night? And what are you using to “medicate” it away? Is it sex, money, your job, your spouse, your kids, porn? What is it?
I love Jesus. There are so many things I love about Him but the thing I think I love about Him the most is that He is gentle. Not one single person who came before Jesus as a sinner (and they were all sinners), admitting their own need did He turn away. He wasn’t harsh or unkind to the sick and wounded and desperate and heartbroken.
No, He was kind and gentle and loving.
You don’t have to have your shit together before you come to Jesus. In fact, please don’t. Because if you’ve got things figured out and you’re all good before you come to Jesus, then it’s not Jesus you’re looking to for salvation; it’s you.
Oh, that we would all recognize that we are no different than that young man last night. We are all drowning our pain and problems in something other than what will actually help us. Jesus is looking at us saying, “Aren’t you tired? Haven’t you gotten tired of trying to fix it all by yourself? You can’t fix it. Just come to Me. Rest in Me. Rest.”
Jesus never promised that He would “fix” all your problems. In fact, He still hasn’t fixed my perceived problem. See, I think my problem is that I was wronged and now I need to make it go away and I need a good paying job and I need…..fill in your own blank.
Jesus didn’t say He was going to fix all that. What He promises us is that, if we will come to Him, we will find rest for our weary souls. You need rest. I need rest. Everyone needs rest. And one day, Jesus will return and we will know an eternal kind of rest that we can only now imagine.
Our souls cry out for rest.
That rest can only be found in Jesus. He is the Christ and He offers Himself to us. What grace, what marvelous, astounding, staggering grace!
Come, friends. Come to Jesus and find rest.
Soli Deo Gloria!
If you’re anything like me, you are prone to despair. If you’re anything like me, the sky seems to be falling at any given moment and it seems like the world is against you most of the time. If you’re anything like me, you get discouraged easily.
I really think that the large part of this is that we forget.
We forget what lies in the past and what is ahead. We forget it because the now seems so pressing and painful and well, so NOW…up in your face.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed when life just presses its proverbial thumb on you and grinds you into the dust.
I realized this morning that the reason I keep doing that, the reason I continually respond that way is because I forget. Allow me to explain…
As I’ve talked about ad nauseam recently, there have been some hard times for me and my family. I won’t belabor those points; you are welcome to go back and read former blog posts. But it happened again this week. I got turned down for three jobs, among other things that happened this week.
The hits just keep on coming. It’s like ground and pound.
The world, our flesh and Satan just absolutely pound us. And it’s not getting better and it’s not going to get better until Jesus returns.
This morning I got up and I was tired. I was physically tired because I hadn’t slept much. Stress and working at night and worry and stuff like that will do that. So I was tired. And I needed to hear from God. I needed to spend time with Him, to know things were going to be okay, that we were going to be okay, that I wasn’t going to lose my mind or my faith.
So I stumbled out of bed tired. I made some coffee and was just bleary. You know that feeling where you know you’re awake but everything feels fuzzy and weird like you’re actually dreaming? That was me. And man, I needed that coffee.
I poured my first cup of coffee and walked back to my office so that I could spend time in the Word and prayer. And my youngest daughter was standing in the hall to greet me. It wasn’t even daylight and she was already up. I was like…well, I won’t tell you what I said under my breath ‘cause it wasn’t repeatable.
Anyways, I changed her diaper and got her some milk and she sat down on the couch. I turned some cartoons on for her and thought, “Great, my morning is shot.” But then…and I can only think it was the Holy Spirit…I felt prompted to pray and read anyway. So I sat in the living room. Now, I practice daily Bible reading and prayer according to the Daily Office of the Anglican Church. I read whatever is in the lectionary reading for that day for my Scripture reading. So I prayed the opening prayer of confession along with the Pascha Nostrum (you’ll have to look it up). I opened to the prayer book to see what the lectionary reading was. The first reading was Psalm 103.
Remember, I had asked God to meet me in my need this morning. I needed a “word” from the LORD. Here is what I read. I’ll just put in the first five verses.
“Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all our iniquities,
Who heals all our diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” (NASB, emphasis mine)
Oh, how I needed to hear this today! Remember…there’s that word again. Remember that I have no control over the lectionary. I had no idea what I was going to be reading, only that I needed a touch of Abba’s hand. I needed encouragement.
Read that text again. Actually, read the entire psalm. But look at the first fiver verses again. Maybe you need to hear this today also. Maybe you’re going through something and you need a word.
You have forgotten.
Remember, my friend.
Forget none of His benefits.
And what are those benefits? Well, the Psalmist happily lists them for us.
1. He pardons our iniquities.
2. He heals all our diseases.
3. He redeems our life from the pit.
4. He crowns us with lovingkindness and compassion.
5. He satisfies our years with good things.
I mean, what else do you need?!
If you’re like me, you can look at this and think, yeah but things are rough right now..how is that satisfying my years with good things? That’s a fair question. I think the answer is one of perspective. I’ll explain.
I had a friend who used to say that some people were “so heavenly minded, they were no earthly good.” While I understand what was meant by this, I think perspective means the precise opposite of this. If we keep in mind, if we remember, if we have the proper perspective, it is precisely because we are so heavenly minded that we are any earthly good.
Don’t be like me. Don’t forget.
Remember what God has done for us in Christ.
Remember what He is doing in us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Remember what He will do for us in eternity.
Soli Deo Gloria!