“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28-30)
God’s words spoke over me as I lay on my couch crying, tears running down my cheeks and onto my Chevron pillow. The light of my living room lamp was too bright; its shine hurt my eyes. The brightness seemed to mock my dark mood.
I am tired.
I am weary.
I want to give up.
God softly repeats: “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
How I needed rest.
The past two months at work have felt like a nightmare. The work seemed never-ending. We had an abnormally high census at the hospital, which meant I had a larger than usual number of patients on my caseload. I’m also in the middle of scheduling programs for one aspect of my job, and helping plan a large event for another.
When I would get home, I immediately would put on my pajamas and then return to my couch, too tired to go work out or do much of anything else. I felt tethered to my phone and laptop as I constantly received emails and texts requesting my time. When I tried to rest, I could not rest. I took work home with me instead of leaving it at work.
So tonight, after attending bible study and prayer and still feeling like I couldn’t rest, I couldn’t get away from all my growing obligations, I finally broke.
I lay on my couch, curled up into a fetal position and cried.
I started to beat myself up for not having the energy to do everything asked of me. I chided myself for not pushing through prayer although my heart and mind felt broken and out of focus.
Why wasn’t I able to do more? Why couldn’t I just suck it up and push through? I am sure God had the same questions and expectations of me.
I was wrong.
His hand was gentle. His voice was calm and inviting. There was no condemnation, only His love and reassurance.
“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
I lay for a while, thinking about His words before answering.
“God, I am so tired. I don’t want to do this anymore. I thought I could do everything being asked of me, but I can’t. I need help; please help me.”
God then encouraged me to sit up, spend some time with Him and read about Elijah in 1 Kings 18-19. In chapter 18, Elijah had just completed a huge victory: he basically took down the prophets of Baal and proved God to be the one and only God of Israel. After such a great triumph, it’s surprising to see that in Chapter 19, he is running from Jezebel and wanting to give up, lie down and die. He tells God:
“It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
After doing such great things for God, Elijah finds himself in the place of no hope.
Yet, God is right there with him.
He doesn’t condemn Elijah. He doesn’t tell him to suck it up and keep moving forward.
He provides him with nourishment, kindness and most of all rest.
And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said,
“Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty night to Horeb, the mount of God.” 1 Kings 19:6-8
God recognizes when things are too much for us and when we are in need of rest, even when we don’t. He knew that Elijah had hit his limit. He didn’t punish him for it. He didn’t call him lazy. He gave him the things he needed: food, rest and His presence.
What I love most in the verses that follow, is that God shows him that He is not always in the big powerful things, but that he can be found in something as small and gentle as a whisper.
To me, this says that God is always able to be what we need.
And what Elijah needed at that time was a gentle God.
In this interaction, God reassures Elijah that he is not alone; there are others out there like him, who still love and serve God. He promises that those who are against him will perish. And finally, He promises that He will bring Elijah help, through Elisha.
Reading these chapters reassured me. We all have times where we hit our limit and can no longer continue to go on. In our weariness, God will be there to meet us and provide us with what we need. I needed to see God’s love in a time of weakness. He showed me His love through the story of Elijah.
I left my time with God feeling refreshed and renewed.
I encourage you today to not run from God when you feel that there is too much on your plate. Instead, run to Him. In Him, you will find His love, His nourishment and His rest.
Alexis is a 35 year old lover of Jesus, loose leaf tea, roller coasters, writing stories and going on adventures. Originally from Marietta, GA, Alexis now resides in Fresno, CA. You can always find Alexis outdoors enjoying a walk in her neighborhood, scoping out the newest food truck, hanging out with friends or planning her next trip. Her church, The Revival Center, and family mean the world to her. They have supported her through the loss of her mother and her own cancer diagnosis. Alexis enjoys encourging others by reminding them not to look at what they see, but to always look to God, who is working in the unseen.