It’s been a hard week, trying to keep pace with responsibilities and expectations while voices of criticism and condemnation whisper in the background. It has wearied me beyond my capacity of will power. Trying to believe the familiar verses I quote to myself only adds to the load of failure I’m carrying. I don’t always know where the help will come from, but I always know that my friend, Jesus, will provide what I need. Yesterday it came from a mentor I visit with once a month, a precious long-time friend. As we were parting, she shared Psalm 27:8 with me from the New Living Translation. “My heart has heard you say, Come and talk with me. And my heart responds, Lord, I am coming.” This morning I spent time studying and meditating on that verse and found it to be the help I needed. Here are some excerpts of what Alexander MacLaren had to say about the passage in his Expositions of Holy Scripture:
Our restlessness, our yearnings, our movings about as aliens in the midst of things seen and visible, all these bid us turn to Him in whom alone our capacities can be satisfied, and the hunger of our souls appeased. . . . In the face of Jesus Christ, ‘the light of the knowledge of the glory of God’ beams out upon us, as it never shone on this Psalmist of old. The voice that he heard calling him was less penetrating and less laden with love than the voice that calls us. They sound to us from the cradle and the cross, and they are wafted down to us from the throne. God’s merciful invitation to us poor men never has taken, nor will, nor can, take a sweeter and more attractive form than in Christ’s version of it: ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’
I envision Him sitting on a bench where warmth and light emanate from Him over a beautiful garden. I stand in the shadows surrounded by the chill of darkness. He looks at me and pats the place next to Him, an invitation to come sit with Him. I walk quickly to be close to Him. The light of His love begins to warm that chilly place in my heart. He asks about the burden I’m holding, and the light of His truth begins to reveal the deception that I wasn’t even aware had crept in. I tell Him about it, and He offers to take it. My hesitation comes from I’m believing I’m responsible for and capable of taking care of it, which is a lie. The truth is that everything I feel responsible for and worry about is in the capable hands of His control. What I choose to believe will determine what I do with the burden. If I continue to believe the lie, I cannot have the rest He offers. If I change my thinking and believe the truth that He has spoken, He replaces the burden with rest.
Again, I refer to Alexander MacLaren, “there is only one tract of human experience in which the promise is always and absolutely fulfilled: Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find.” What am I seeking? What are you seeking? The lies of self-sufficiency, misplaced responsibility, and assumed expectation will always be calling to us. May our hearts, minds, souls, and strength be turned toward Jesus, “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” (Hebrews 1:3) No other person or thing can deliver on the promise of rest we seek, no matter how much we believe it can. And that’s the truth!