And I will give you rest

The once lush leaves of the happy yellow daffodils are beginning to fade and lie down in the garden. They’re tired; they have fulfilled their purpose of making the springtime sing. Now that song is a low moan as they flop down into the emerging summer vegetation.

While gardeners do resent their messy looking habit of falling all over the tender new growth of the other plants as they try to collect some more sunshine for next year’s growth, we realize that February will be a time to welcome their cheerful blooms again. 

Many gardeners are not patient with these geriatric gestures of natural aging, and they cut down the foliage before it can “spoil” the garden. They will then wonder why they have so few blooms come springtime. 

Spring blooming bulbs need the rest that summer provides, but they also need to let that rest come when they are good and ready – after the leaves have performed the needed photosynthesis to help the bulb store food for the energy to bloom gloriously once again.

Jesus was well aware of our need for rest. He also provided an answer.

“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” (Matthew 11:28-29, NKJV). 

There are several kinds of rest here that this could be talking about. Maybe the most obvious one is our eternal rest in heaven with him. In this case, like the daffodils, we have work to do before that rest comes. 

We are also promised a rest from the hounding harassment of sin. That is not to say that our lives will be all daffodils and butterflies from the moment we are baptized. In many cases, it seems that Satan ramps up his efforts to get us on his side once he sees we are following Christ. 

The rest from sin is a rest from its grip and from its consequences. We have hope – like the spring bulbs – that we will bloom again even if we flop and fall. God forgives as we repent and resolve to follow him more closely. We no longer have to live in the shadow of evil, nor of evil deeds. 

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,  nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

The sunshine of God’s grace puts enough energy in our hearts to burst forth again in glory, not just after death but in this life as well! The rest and renewal of Christ’s cleansing blood is new life to our souls.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). 

Need a rest? Come to Jesus. 

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