I Will Give You Rest
I Will Give You Rest

I Will Give You Rest

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Sunday is Mother’s Day in the United States. This holiday is full of celebration, but also of grief. There is sadness for the mothers’ we’ve lost, the moms’ we never knew, the women who struggle with infertility, the expectations from children that were never met, and the pressure from society to become mothers. For some, we are thankful for the amazing dedication from our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, friends, and support systems that have nurtured us over the years. For others, we acknowledge or hide from the mistreatment, disappointment, and abuse endured.

My prayers are with anyone who has experienced hurt from a caregiver. My heart also goes out to all of us, as we have all experienced pain in this life. The sources may be different, but the impact can feel permanent. If not dealt with, we run the risk of passing our pain onto others. Jesus advised us in Matthew 11:28-29:

 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

He wanted to remind us that we have a choice in how we deal with our weariness – no matter the circumstances. Our situations may affect us, but they should not overtake us. What we do next is entirely up to us, no matter what anyone else tries to tell us.

The Story of Ruth

When I think about less-than-ideal circumstances, I think about Ruth. Here lies the story of a woman who unexpectedly lost her husband and was without children. Yet, Ruth was not alone. She had a sister-in-law named Orpah who was in the same predicament, and a mother-in-law (Naomi) who having previously lost her husband, was now without her two sons.

Given the situation, Naomi decided she would return to the land of Judah to live out the rest of her days. At first, Ruth and Orpah insisted on going with Naomi, but Naomi pushed back. Naomi suggested they go home to their own mothers. Orpah agreed and left to return to her home. Ruth, on the other hand, said this:

“Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.

Ruth 1:16

The results of choice.

We do not find out what happens to Orpah once she returns home, but I do not think her decision was necessarily wrong. She took a chance at having a second life, and maybe even a family. Ruth, on the other hand, committed an act of selflessness when she dedicated her life to the wellbeing of Naomi. In time, this decision would lead Ruth to marrying a man named Boaz, and having a son named Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David. (Ruth 4:17)

Ruth’s decision to watch over Naomi resulted in the lineage of David – the future King of Israel, anointed by God Himself. Ruth could not have known that outcome when she decided to stay the journey with Naomi. Nevertheless, I admire Ruth for making a choice, in difficult circumstances, to do what she saw was right, without knowing the end-result. Because of this, God honored her commitment, as He does with us.

It’s easy to get stuck in what has happened – particularly when it’s bad. We can become pillars of salt, looking towards the past instead of focusing on what we can do right now to improve our situations. Ruth could’ve blamed “Naomi’s God” for losing her husband, but what good would that have done? The longer we spend blaming others for our outcomes, the less power we give to ourselves and to God to course correct. Circumstances may be beyond our control, but our actions are not.

When Jesus Says – I will give you rest

I realize that some of us are given tougher circumstances than others. That truth is not lost on me, and I do not want to minimize the strength and energy needed to pull ourselves out of overwhelming circumstances, and into a better life. Those choices may be some of the hardest ones we will ever have to make, but I still find gratitude in being able to make those choices. Because of choice, our pasts do not have to define our futures. History does not have to repeat itself. We can heal and experience amazing growth.

I am also thankful that Jesus gave us the choice to come to Him, so that He would give us rest. When Jesus said – I will give you rest, He offered us the peace needed to calm our weary souls. That peace may come in the form of friendships, church communities, therapists, or other outlets… but what’s most important, is that the peace will come. Don’t let troubling times make you believe that you must succumb to your circumstances. That is not so. We all have the chance to live better lives, to untangle ourselves from the hurt, and to rise above our circumstances. So, trust God to lead your journey. With Him, you will always be able to make the choices needed to experience true change.

Thank you for reading. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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