Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. – Matthew 11:28-30 – The Message
This morning is one of those damp, cold, sleet-turning-to-rain-with-the-threat-of-wet-snow days that begs for roaring fires, hot chocolate, and re-runs of It’s a Wonderful Life. Of course, this really is a most wonderful life, even if it’s difficult – and that’s the point of this post.
But not everyone is in front of an open fire this morning! I just Face-timed with my grandchildren and they’re making snow-angels in Richmond. So there’s sitting in front of the fire, there’s complaining about the fact that you have freezing rain instead of snow, and there’s making snow angels… or splashing in puddles. In other words, simply living out loud and enjoying the day regardless.
That’s as good a tie-in as I can find to the devotional thought I want to emphasize to punctuate this short blog entry. Because at my Saturday men’s Bible-study this morning we talked about the persistent fact that life is very often difficult, and loaded with grief, and disappointment, and that we can find ourselves overwhelmed and even consumed with doubt.
Is God testing us? Is trouble some kind of spiritual boot camp? What if we become resentful, or angry at God? We had a deep and helpful conversation, but it wasn’t the kind of dialogue where we walked away confident that we now understand how God works, or suddenly comfortable regarding the things that trouble us.
But we did – to a man – reaffirm the truth that it’s not a reasonable explanation that we need so much as the sense that God is with us on this journey, that God’s promise to never leave us is sure, and that “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me… (Psalm 23)”
People don’t want tidy answers, we concluded, they just want to know that they are not alone. “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23).
We are not alone. It is that fact – that abiding truth – that gives us strength, and that equips us for tomorrow – DEREK