A Study in Faith

Dear all,

         I hope this post finds you well. If you are not well, if troubles have seized you and you feel as if the world has turned for the worst, fear not. The phrase fear not seems so simple, but if you read my last post about the Sabbath, you will know that the first step to approaching the day, good or bad, is to take a moment to rest and reflect. In a world that pushes us to move, that always urges us to expeditiously accomplish all tasks without reflection, it is easy to become overwhelmed. This is why I urge you to pause. Albert Einstein once stated, “He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” So too God asks that  we pause for the very same reason. From the very moment He created the world, He Himself paused before creating man, sanctifying the Sabbath as a day of rest and reflection. As written in Matthew 11:28-29, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ states, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

This is the secret of Biblical truth. From the very beginning, God saw that we could not approach the world or protect all He had given us alone. He recognized that in all things we could not act without someone to share our burdens. So to Adam he gave Eve, and so to the world he gave His son to free us from the iron shackles of sin. In the same way that He sought to direct Adam and Eve in their labors, He too sent His son to bear our burdens again, saying not that we should avoid labor, but that we should share it, passing our burdens in and of the world to that Father who formed that world.

Do we do we not ourselves, even those who are not Christians, seek to pass challenges beyond our expertise to others in the world? For our hearts, there are cardiologists, for our hunger, there is, for some, fast food, for others a dear mother or friend who can cook. For our spiritual and emotional burdens, there may be a psychiatrist or a loved one. Yet the Creator of all of these is our Holy Father, who first anticipated the need to remove the yokes of the world with the Sabbath and who most addressed our need for freedom from the sin of the world by sending His son Our Savior Jesus Christ to wash us clean of our iniquities. This is a history and a narrative I will study in different morning and evening prayer lessons to come, but it is one I wish to introduce here more generally.

This brief note is also meant to precede my next point, that which more closely ties to the title of this post. No matter what your challenges or obstacles, they are surmountable. Yet, they are not surmountable alone, nor are they those overcome without individual effort. Note that in the verse from Matthew, Christ states that He will bring us rest. BUT this rest may only come when we have taken his yoke, which asks that we open our hearts to His Word and to Him.

Christ’s yoke is one in which our burdens are shared, one in which we admit to our weaknesses, accept Christ into our hearts, and allow Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to place Their hands into our hearts and mold them. The challenge is to rest, reflect, and make the choice to open our hearts to the triune God and His Word. We are to study God’s creation through his Word and Christ’s Cross. In doing so, the burdens of the world, whether they be those of one alone or of many, will then pass into His hands, through which He works  in us and through us to spread His love, His mercy, and His rest.

Praying Keys:

Holy Father, Almighty, and Everlasting God,

       Thank you for this day, for the chance to take a moment and reflect on the beauty of Your creation, the beauty of resting in it, and the ways in which Your Word sanctifies the need to rest in all that You have made. I pray that in resting, we may open our hearts to you, accepting Christ’s yoke, knowing that in passing our lives to Him, we may accept the burden of studying the world as You would have us study it. I pray especially for those who still struggle to open their eyes to Your presence, that you may give them rest from the burden of their sins, that as the light of morning awakens them, they may see in the sun the certainty of Your presence and your ability to lighten the darkness of their hearts with Your eternal light.

Amen.

In Christ,

        Kathleen

 

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One thought on “A Study in Faith

  1. The theology and necessity of rest are not an optional part of Christianity. Our resting in Him is fundamental to who God is. Isaiah 46:1-7, especially verse 3-4, shows this:
    “…their idols are on beasts and livestock;
    these things you carry are borne
    as burdens on weary beasts….
    “Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
    all the remnant of the house of Israel,
    who have been borne by me from before your birth,
    carried from the womb;
    4 even to your old age I am he,
    and to gray hairs I will carry you.
    I have made, and I will bear;
    I will carry and will save.”
    All other ‘gods,’ our idols, demand us to serve them and do everything by ourselves while they actually do nothing for us. Instead, our God carries us. We can and must rest in God, because things do not depend on us, but on Him. He it is who provides for us. Yes, we must act – work, pray, etc. – but it isn’t the end of the world in and when we fail. And this is the mystery, central to Christian life: that we do – pray, walk, keep ourselves in Him, do good, etc. – everything BY Him. It is both us doing it, and not us doing it because it is God doing it. For us to do everything in our own strength would be atheistic, for no God is involved. And yet God does involve us, and not just as servant-instruments, but as His children. So you are right, Kathleen, to quote Matthew 11:28-29.
    I hope this makes sense. It’s kind of a boiled-down version and mix of two different sermons, both well worth listening to, especially the first:
    http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/learning-to-pray-in-the-spirit-and-the-word-part-2
    http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/dont-eat-the-bread-of-anxious-toil

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