Finding Rest For Your Soul by Grace Edwards

Rest for your soul.

As I learn more about the heart of Jesus, I realize how much I try to put Him in a box I can understand through my human eyes. My natural intuition desires to and can only fathom a god who is like me. 

But that is exactly why we need the Bible. Jesus is NOT like me, thank goodness!

A passage God has recently been teaching me from—which I have struggled with—is Matthew 11:28-30:

“Come to Me, all you 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.”

Jesus is speaking. It might be the only passage in Scripture where He, personally, describes His heart. He uses the words “gentle and lowly.” This paints a picture of being readily accessible, specifically to those who are exhausted and at the end of their rope. 

He then continues with describing His yoke as “easy” and His burden as “light.” This is where my hang-up began. I don’t get it! What about the martyrs in the Bible? What about those currently suffering in Israel? What about my struggles? Things certainly don’t feel “easy” and “light.”

But Jesus is so patient and kind to teach me where I am.

The first thing I learned was the critical meaning for the word “yoke.” Imagine using your bare hands to drag a heavy, iron plow across the rock-hard soil of a field while trying to keep it in a straight line and without the assistance of a yoke to help. With a yoke, the weight of the plow is still present, but you are freer to maneuver the solid piece of iron and therefore better able to focus on the steps forward. 

But this still didn’t make sense to me as I pictured the burden being no less heavy; however, the other critical piece I missed was the true definition of the word “easy.” It doesn’t mean “causing or involving little difficulty or discomfort” the way Webster defined it. The Greek word used here actually translates as “good” or “kind.” Jesus says, “My yoke is kind!” It is the same Greek word “kind” that is used when He says:

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted.” (Ephesians 4:32)

So what do these definitions mean when applied to this passage? I like analogies (imperfect though they may be) and I read one that resonated with me. It’s like telling a person who is drowning in rough water that he must use the lifejacket that has been thrown to him. The person can see it as just another burden and continue to fight the weight of gravity and the tumultuous circumstances; or they can put on the lifejacket and benefit from the buoyancy provided by the design. 

Jesus not only meets us in our place of need, but He lives there. 

To fail to allow Him to carry our burden is like the ridiculous drowning person refusing the lifejacket. When we say “I love Jesus” but decline to dive into the deep fellowship and rest that He provides for our weary soul we are equally foolish. The “yoke” that Jesus offers us is kind and unburdens us from having to struggle through life without Him.

The final thing God taught me was the critical importance of the phrase “rest for your SOULS.” It doesn’t say “body,” it says “soul.” That’s not super encouraging for a physically exhausted person, except for the fact that when our SOUL finds rest, we find the physical strength for our BODY to go on. This lesson was made clearer to me as I listened to a sermon on prayer by Pastor Lon Solomon. In the sermon, he described the way he had prayed and prayed that God would heal his daughter who suffers from Dravet Syndrome, an untreatable seizure disorder. As he searched the Scriptures for answers, he came across a quote from Matthew Henry’s Commentary and shared:

“Sometimes God sees that we need physical sickness for the good of our souls more than we need healing for the ease of our bodies. We must be willing for a season because there is a need to be in heaviness, but when God sees that the work is done and that we need healing, we shall have it.”

Remarkable! I must remind myself that I am a very small part of a very BIG God and—His plan. We all are! 

I can’t see much of anything but what is in front of me, but God has the bird’s eye view and can see how all of the pieces connect. 

While I do not understand the suffering of this life, God has not just left me out in the cold to experience it alone. Neither have you! Jesus offers us a place of rest, but to get there—we MUST turn to Him and hand over our burdens. It sounds so much easier than it feels, but that’s how the martyrs of the Bible were able to find peace in spite of their horrific circumstances. 

The burdens and struggles of life are present each morning; but when you wake up and immediately begin handing them over to Jesus, He promises “rest for your soul.

We would love to hear your thoughts about this devotional. Did God speak to you or challenge your daily walk with him? Or is there a topic that you would like Kimberly to cover or expound on? Please share with us in the comments below.

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8 Responses

  1. Thank you for reminding me that Jesus is way bigger then my life problems.for reminding me that I cab find rest in him.

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