Whenever I speak at women’s events, I like to remind them that the same God who calls us to take up our cross and follow him (Mark 8:34), to lay down our lives for others (John 13:15), and to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) also calls us to come to him when we are weary so he can give us rest (Matthew 11:28).
Often we forget that last part. At least I do.
I get so caught up in trying to be the perfect Proverbs 31 woman that I forget to be his daughter. I forget to run to my Father for comfort when I get hurt. I forget to tell him the wonderful things I’ve discovered today. I forget to share my hopes and dreams and what I want to be when I grow up. I forget to creep to him in the dark of night when I’m terrified by a nightmare. I forget to ask him to watch me twirl, or to cry out for strength when I need help with a heavy load.
Just the other day my (earthly) daddy called to remind me that I live pretty far away right now. He’s right. It’s almost 800 miles to get from his house to mine. And it breaks my heart.
But, I am really glad to live at this point in history because I can text, call, email, or FaceTime and be connected to him in an instant. And while a visit requires planning, I can be wrapped in his arms in a day if it comes right down to it. But most of the time a screen-pop of his written words or the sound of his voice has to suffice for now.
Sometimes when a text comes in, I need to be engaged in what is in front of me, which means I need to ignore his text until later. But, when my daddy calls or texts, it is an invitation to engage with him, to be part of his 800-mile-away world for a moment. When I text or call him I invite him to share in my life, to speak truth and wisdom – or humor – into it. It is a valid connection. It is a call to stop something else and spend time together – for two minutes as we text a quick thought, for an hour as we talk about college plans, grafting pecan trees, or grandkid antics. That little text is a request to pause, to connect, and to rest together.
My relationship with God is like this, too.
I live pretty far from him right now, but in an instant I can connect with him through his written word. I have immediate access to him through prayer. While I cannot jump in a car and be in his arms at the end of a long day of driving, he has provided the arms of countless people in the church to wrap me up for now.
Matthew 11:28 is like a text equivalent from ancient times. It’s right there in Scripture, a welcome interruption to our busyness calling us to rest and connect:
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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
It is only as I stop what I am doing and choose to engage with God that I am able to take up my cross and follow him, to lay down my life for others, and to bear a friend’s burdens.
That is one text I should never ignore.