Turn Your Eyes

Come to me, all you that are weary
and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
–Matthew 11:28

“Yeah, right.”

That’s surely the response some people have when they hear those words of Jesus. Sure, just show up in front of God and your burdens—your financial problems, your difficult coworkers, your longest-held prejudices—will be lifted away.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,” the old Protestant hymn says, and— as I remember it—the “things of earth will grow strangle dim”.

But a lot of people have known about God all their lives and have always chosen Jesus as their path to God, but they somehow still seem heavily burdened.  How can that be?

You see, many people seem to look at God as somewhat of a “Cosmic Santa Claus” to be called upon whenever you want something.  They like the idea of having a supernatural hero to sweep in and save the day when things are a bit frustrating.

Here’s what I think people don’t always understand:  God doesn’t promise to take away our problems.  I mean, take a look at Job and you will realize that he wasn’t immune to problems.

God doesn’t promise to take us to such a high spiritual place that the things of this planet are no longer important.  The early disciples walked close with Jesus, but they weren’t exactly given a free pass void of difficulties.

God doesn’t even promise to protect us from pain or an empty feeling of hopelessness.  Many of the early hero’s of the Faith were persecuted, stoned, and even killed.  David shares often in the Psalms about feeling abandoned and hopeless.

God has reasons for allowing us to sometimes endure some difficulties.  I suspect we occasionally need an “adjustment” in our character, or perhaps a nudge for us to seek God.  Whatever the reason at the moment, God is always Faithful.

Giving us rest and peace — as well as hope, joy and a sense of Who He is – is perhaps more in line with what God does for us during difficulties.  And I believe, God is doing a pretty good job :).

You know, I wish I had more money.  And I wish I had a little more energy so I could cram even more into each day.  But when I pray, I’ve stopped asking God for money, time and abilities.  I ask God to quiet my sometimes-troubled soul.  I ask for God’s spirit of gentleness to blow through the wilderness of life and make it calmer and more sane. I n other words, I ask God for some much-needed rest from my heavy burdens.

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