Freedom and Rest Are Waiting
Come to me, all 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. Matthew 11:28-29
Almost daily, I see those around me still living in the throes of addiction. It’s the hollow, dead eyes, with their vacant stare, that betrays the addict’s struggle the most. Having been there, I suppose I’m more sensitive to it. It’s sad and frightening how many around me daily still live in the nightmare. It’s also painful, knowing the joy and freedom that they refuse to find in faith and recovery. Why does the addict continue in misery when the new life is waiting?
Why do any of us continue to wallow in the old life? Why do we continue to eat ourselves into being overweight, when we could know the joy of a healthy life? Why do we continue to indulge in our resentment, pride, anger, and lust, when we know the misery those things bring us? The addict’s conflict isn’t that unlike ours, differing mainly in the severity of the consequences.
Jesus, in today’s passage, asks that we bring him our struggles and burdens and explains why we should do so. After giving several warnings about the difficulty of following him, he explains the benefits of following him. To all those who will surrender their own path and cast their burdens on him, he will give rest, peace, joy, freedom, and life.
Why would anyone not want this? The addict’s struggle is to surrender control. He may want freedom, but still, he clings the gratification found in his drug, which has warped his diseased thinking. Radical change is difficult and painful. Freedom and rest sound great, but there’s a price to be paid to get there. For many – for most – that price is too high.
But to those of us who are willing to bring our burdens to Christ, daily doing whatever it takes to abandon the old life, he provides that which we need most. Jesus offers daily joy, rest, hope, and recovery from the burdens of life, whatever they may be. Thankfully, we don’t have to do this alone and we don’t have to carry our own misery. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.