“How are you?”
I rarely ask that question in a conversation without receiving a response along the lines of “fine” or “doing good” or “so busy these days.” Rarely does someone respond by saying, “I am so well rested” or “My schedule is so balanced these days.”
If we were tired before 2020 brought with it a pandemic and many other difficult national crises, we are certainly tired now. If we were feeling a strain on our schedules before 2020 brought with it endless meetings over video conferencing and virtual environments for school, worship, and everything in between, we are certainly feeling that strain now.
The kinds of feelings I have described above are sold short by being described as just tired or strained. If we are anything in this moment, I think we are weary. I am weary.
My guess is that you feel this to your core; I know I do. We have all excessively exerted ourselves trying to adjust to life during a pandemic. But as I reflect on this, I realize that there is a distinct difference between being tired and being weary. Everyone is tired, but only those who work can be weary.
Have you been working your tail off? Have you been working on trying to blend home life and work life? Have you been working on trying to keep masks clean? Have you been working on trying to keep your grandparents safe but not lonely? Have you been working on keeping up with the political debates? Have you been working towards understanding racial inequalities in our nation? Have you been working on trying not to work? This is where weariness of work sets in … it all takes a toll. Everyone’s tired, but only those who work can be weary.
Finding Rest during a Pandemic
After months of constant adjustments to life during a pandemic, we are weary, but we are not alone. We are loved by a God who deeply understands the weariness of work. That same God spoke these words to us as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew:
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 (emphasis added)
The weariness we are feeling, the weariness I am feeling, will not be diminished by a good night’s sleep, a nap every day, a consistent workout routine, healthy eating, or drinking enough water. Although those things may help for a time, the weariness we are feeling draws us to our need for a Savior. A Savior who promises rest. Our weariness will only be turned to rest by encountering Jesus.
Balanced with Rest in Jesus
You can have the best schedule, but if it isn’t balanced with resting in Jesus, it will quickly fall short of meeting your true needs. You can be the most informed person when it comes to political issues, but if you are not first informed on the words of your Savior, your energy will not last. You can lead the most efficient video conferencing call, but if you are not managing your own time in Scripture, your work will not bear fruit.
Your Savior took the burden of weariness and carried it all the way to the cross. He spent His time on earth striving for your eternal schedule and safety. He excessively exerted Himself on your behalf so that you would have a place to rest in your own times of weariness.
So come, at the end of this tumultuous and tension-filled year, and rest. Come rest not in your own work but in the work of Jesus. Come and encounter Jesus, and when you do that, you will find rest.
This month, you can encounter Jesus through His Word in the Everyday Faith calendar. The calendar walks through thirty verses on rest, along with a daily prompt to help you see rest through God’s Word.