We are a weary world. For many of you, 2020 has felt like a massive weight on your shoulders. Things appear to be spinning out of control. We’ve experienced a global pandemic, epic disruptions to our so-called normal lives, quarantines, illness, loss, financial struggle, fear, anxiety, discord and division, and apprehension about the future.
I experienced the devastating loss of my father after a 45-day battle with COVID-19 just a few months ago. Most of my family fought illness during this time as well. My husband and I both were navigating working full-time from home and virtually schooling our children. My days were full of waiting for phone calls from doctors and reports from nurses and a whole lot of waiting while we couldn’t be with my dad. He received his ultimate healing in heaven. He was 63 years old and healthy, not part of the “at-risk” population for this virus. Our hearts are shattered, and I’ve waded through the muddy waters of grief this summer. I am figuring out how to walk this journey of loss and be available for my children who are grieving as well. I am also adapting to a different education model for my children this school year. And I am assessing how to lead and minister to women during these unprecedented times. My schedule has never looked so empty and free, yet this is possibly the weariest and most overwhelmed I’ve felt.
While my circumstances and suffering may look different than yours, I know many of you feel this same overwhelming struggle. So why do we feel so worn down when we have less on our calendar? Perhaps we are looking for our rest and rejuvenation in all the wrong places. How much time do we spend thinking on our circumstances, burying our heads in the sand, scrolling social media, getting riled up by politics, or always discussing woes with others?
I believe with my whole heart that the Lord gives us great grace for our journey through difficult times, but I have also found great practical wisdom in this well-known passage of scripture in recent days:
“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.” Matthew 11:28-30
Here are the three lessons I’m clinging to from this passage:
- Our rest comes from being in the presence of God. That has to be the first place we run. We can’t first run to others, to our phone screens/social media or Netflix, to old habits, or any other thing. Jesus invites us to Himself. Sitting and resting in the presence of God can provide rest and healing in a moment. Perhaps he is using our weariness to draw us near.
- Partnering with the Holy Spirit lightens the load. So often, we plan and lead in our lives out of our own strength. Allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us causes things to happen supernaturally in a day that may have taken a year had we depended on our human endurance. I’m not discussing a rest where you escape and disengage. I’m talking about rest while you work. Working from a place of rest, refreshed by the Holy Spirit.
- Walking with Jesus is the easy way out. Don’t misunderstand me here and think that the Christian walk is easy. We know that Jesus said we would have trouble, but He promised He has overcome the world (John 16:33). Sometimes we think we can bypass the path the Father lays out to follow what we feel may be a better way. In actuality, this invites more strife and struggle. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. Walking in wisdom provided by the leading of the Holy Spirit leads us to rest.
Yes, we are overwhelmed and weary. But the good news is that Jesus has overcome. He promised a helper, the Holy Spirit. He invites us to come. It’s only in His presence that we find real rest. I encourage you to spend dedicated time in worship, prayer, fasting, studying the Word, meditating and memorizing Scripture, and sitting in silence to hear from the Lord. The world is noisy right now, so steal away with Jesus for a bit. He lightens our load. He has brought us freedom from the things that weigh us down. Be intentional about where you draw your strength. His presence is the place of rest for your weary soul.
For further insight on rest, visit iphc.org/rise to hear a message from Susan Beacham on rest from our Rise Online Women’s Conference.
Whitney Davis currently serves as the National Director of Women's Ministries. She is a wife, mom, encourager, and visionary. She is a South Carolina girl who now calls Oklahoma home. She worked for 12 years as a Labor & Delivery and Mother/Baby nurse before transitioning to full-time ministry to women. Whitney grew up in the IPHC and her husband, Brad, has been an IPHC minister for over 20 years. They have a blended family of five children- Carmen, Evelyn, Sullivan, Ellington, and Deacon.
Whitney has a passion for helping women on the journey of becoming more like Jesus. She desires for Women’s Ministries to be the arm of the church that is uniquely positioned to equip women for the work of discipleship.