Last time I looked there were two-hundred fifty-four comments and counting in response to a devotional about rest which I read yesterday. This is probably three to four times the usual number of comments. Who knew “rest” was such a hot topic? But I discovered that it truly is a topic that touches a lot of lives. As I scrolled through the comments it didn’t take long for a common theme to emerge – we are all exhausted – we all feel like we are “running on empty” and we are all desperately desiring rest. At least that was my take-away from the comments I read and I easily identified with all the various situations and seasons of life that contribute to this phenomenon of perpetual weariness.
I am wondering if this weariness is just a western culture problem or is it something women around the world are experiencing, irregardless of country or culture? Could it be the result of our fast-paced way of life today? Were my grandmothers and my mom this tired all the time? I am trying to remember if rest was such a sought after commodity back then.
It occurs to me that there is a difference between physical fatigue and soul weariness. What I learned from the many comments I read was that I think for most of us the mental, emotional, soul/spiritual fatigue is what we suffer from much more than physical tiredness. Sleep can alleviate our physical tiredness, but we are left still seeking solutions for our elusive soul weariness.
Which is precisely what Jesus offers to each and every one of us when He says in Matthew 11:28-30 –
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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 provides me with rest, so why do I so often feel fatigued? For me, the answer lies in these words Jesus spoke to His disciples,
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
No wonder I sometimes get so tired! I too often try to do things (bear fruit) in my own strength, (instead of letting God do the heavy lifting) and this leaves me exhausted and discouraged – like the branch which wearies, withers and weakens when not fully connected to the vine. Apart from the Vine, I am running on empty. I know I need to stop and get gas, but I don’t have time – time to spend hanging out with the Vine – actually time spent hanging onto the Vine. If I don’t stop and fill up my tank, I will stall out, I won’t be going anywhere. But when I am abiding in and connected to the Vine, I have a constant supply of everything I need to live this life that God has given me.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3)
My Heavenly Father’s manna and mercies are new every morning. As long as I remain connected to Jesus, the life-giving, life-sustaining Vine, I am continuously filled up with His grace, love, forgiveness, compassion, peace, comfort, joy, light and so much more – so that I can serve Him by sharing with others all that He gives to me. In other words, I will bear much fruit, just like He said. As a branch on the Vine, I only began to weaken, wither and grow weary when my connection to the Vine is loosened or lost.
I never want to be apart from the Vine. Why would I? Jesus said,
“No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.” (John 15:4
To a branch like me, the Vine is life itself – abundant life, so much more than I could think to ask or imagine. I never want to be a branch without a vine. Thank You, Jesus, that I can abide in You, the Vine, who sustains every branch – including me, giving me abundant life and rest for my soul every day.
“For in Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)
sincerely, Grace Day