I have looked for rest for my weary soul in some very strange places. When I was a younger, I often sought rest in the bottom a bottle of beer, wine or whiskey – I didn’t discriminate. What did I find at the bottom? Emptiness and despair.
Even once I got free from the clutches of alcohol I found myself looking in many wrong places. Sometimes I would look for rest in worldly things, like money. Cold cash does a pretty good job at relieving some discomforts, but the green inky salve doesn’t do much real healing. And the more you use it to find rest, the more it entangles and enslaves you in its coldness.
What about people, can’t I find rest in them? This might be the second worst place to look. First of all, the reactions of people vary wildly depending on which evil spirit might be whispering in the person’s ear. How unfair it is for me to depend upon others. In this way I force them to be perfect for me so I can rest. How many times have I put this unbearable burden on my wife or kids?
And the worst place I have looked for rest? Myself.
When I believe that I can find true rest in myself alone, I end up believing the lie that I am perfect. When this is proven to be untrue – as it always is – I either keep propping up this delusion, or I begin to tell myself that I am a total wreck. All useless lies.
I don’t mean that we should ignore others or ourselves. But how many times have I reacted poorly because I, or others, have not lived up to my expectations? When I look for rest in the unstable and unpredictable, I end up frustrated and exhausted.
Yes, I must strive to make myself and my marriage better. Of course I must guide and set boundaries for my children. But when my efforts fail, or I get the exact opposite result, does this weary my soul? Of course it does. But there is a place.
In the presence of Jesus we find perfect rest. He cannot and will not let us down.
If you are weary and tired, go to him. Let him bandage and heal your wounds. Let him give you the living water to quench your insatiable thirst. Let him give you the bread of life that calms your hunger.
He expects nothing of you, but gives you everything. And once I realized this he washed me clean and I found true rest. Look to him. Rest in him.
When the world responds in the most irrational or even violent manner possible, quietly pray and find all the strength and peace you need in these words:
Jesus, I rest in you.