Daily Thought - "finding Rest Amidst Unexplainable Tragedy"

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” – Matthew 11: 28-30 (NLT)

    Weary and heavy burdened. Oh how that can describe us all this weekend in the light of the shooting in Connecticut that has left 20 elementary school children dead. Another senseless act we are forced to try and make sense of. I have seen the gamut of reactions this weekend from believers and those who still stand outside of salvation. Anger and disbelief. Sadness and denial. The world is scrambling to try and find a nice neat box they can place Adam Lanza into so that at some point we can all move on and feel a little bit better about the fact that simply put – evil exists. Forget about diagnosis and professional opinions. The Bible says that the devil is the god of this world and events like this occur simply because evil exists. Jesus warned us of course:

    I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16: 33 (NLT)

    Many trials and sorrows. Many inexcusable shootings in schools from Columbine to Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook Elementary School. Or in a crowded midnight theater. Trials and sorrows in this world beloved because of the nature of this world. It is evil. It is dying. It is eroding from the inside out until the day the trumpet sounds and Jesus comes back. But we were not meant to merely survive an existence of suffering and misery until that day. Not at all. We were meant to overcome the world through our Savior. The abundant eternal life is not meant as some far away construct that we will get to enjoy some fine day after we have endured enough here on this mortal coil. That doesn’t mean that we do not grieve at the loss and cry with the world. It means however that we double our efforts at sharing the only message that matters – the Gospel. The reality of how fleeting and fragile life is should only serve to spur us on even more to let people know that the time is short. And that those burdens they are carrying around can be put down. Let us go through the key verses together.

    The first thing we see is that this always must be a choice. God did not create an army of robots when He created man. He has not programmed us. He will not force our minds to come to Him. We must elect to. He can try and persuade us. He will send people into our lives to witness to us. But at the end of the day we must choose to come to Him. When Jesus confronted the rich young ruler He left him with a choice. Follow me or follow your wealth. The rich young ruler chose to follow his wealth. The Bible says that God does not wish any to perish but everyone to come to eternal life. He realizes however that simply is not going to happen. People choose every day to live without God and when God comes back to judge this world their choice will be made permanent. Sometimes I think when we are weary and heavy burdened we simply wish that God would take it all away but we fail to actually come to Him. I remember when my life was at a crossroads and I even said the sinner’s prayer. I wanted God to fix what a mess I had made of my life. But I would not come to Him for another four years. When I did though I can tell you the weight lifted off of my shoulders was palpable; it was real.

    Next in the key verses we see that God will give us rest. Not rest as the world considers it. Not a fleeting kind of rest that still leaves you bone weary and mind-tired. Real rest; transcendent rest:

    Do not be anxious about anything,but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4: 6-7 (NLT)

    The rest God offers transcends anything we can possibly comprehend. It is the kind of rest that we simply do not understand until we come to Christ. But if you notice in the key verses there is a process involved with obtaining this rest. Sometimes we tend to focus only on the portion of the verses which is pleasing to us and avoid the conditions God has set out. It doesn’t work like that. The conditions are twofold. We must take the yoke of Christ upon us and we must allow Him to teach us. The whole premise in the key verses hinge upon these conditions. Too often we see that people pay lip service to Christ but fail to do what is required. Then they wonder why they walk with no power and authority in this world. They wonder why they seemingly do not change. I remember the four years that separated when I said the sinner’s prayer and when I was actually saved. I knew I had a made a deal but I also knew I did not live up to my end of the arrangement. Thank God He waited for me and never gave up on me.

    So first we must take His yoke upon us. Well, what does that mean? A yoke is a device that is used to hold two oxen together for the purposes of farming. They are held together as the yoke goes around each animal’s neck. Quite a pleasant visual I know! What most fail to realize is they are already yoked to the world. The yoke of the world though requires all of the hard work and heavy lifting to be done by us. The yoke of Jesus however is light and easy to bear. The interesting thing is that the yoke also keeps the head focused straight ahead. When we are yoked by Satan, we only see what he wants to show us. We only see the worldly arguments that come from a shooting such as this. We talk about non-consequential things such as gun control and psychiatry. When we are yoked to Christ however, He keeps our focus straight ahead on Him. Our attention is fixed solely on the one who has overcome the world. Yet again the recipe for peace in the storm:

    You will keep in perfect peaceall who trust in you,all whose thoughts are fixed on you! – Isaiah 26: 3 (NLT)

    This leads to the second part of the condition. We must allow Jesus to teach us. He assures us that His heart is humble and gentle – two things desperately missing in this world. Two things we desperately need to overcome this world and tragedies such as what unfolded in Connecticut. Too often we come to Christ but we fail to let Him teach us. We take the yoke on but when we want to flirt with the world again, we take it back off. We allow Him to teach us but only until we hear something we do not want to hear. Maybe we don’t want to hear that we can no longer live with our girlfriend or that we really should not be found in the clubs late on a Saturday night. Maybe we don’t want to hear how evil the world really is that someone like Adam Lanza exists because of the human condition and not because of all the psychological gymnastics they will go to, to try and explain him away.

    I do not know where this writing finds you today. If you are on the outside of Salvation looking in then Jesus is telling you once again to come unto Him. To take off the yoke of this world and take His upon you. To allow Him to teach you so that your focus will remain upon Him – the only one who has overcome this world. So that your burdens can be laid down for good. So that His peace may rest upon you. Maybe this writing finds you saved but dancing with the devil every now and again. Saved but struggling with the yoke. Maybe you feel you are missing something in this world but Jesus is telling you today that is simply not so. What happened in Connecticut is a symptom of a diseased and dying world. It is world He has already saved you from. The Bible says to not look to the left or the right for a reason. Make sure that the yoke of Christ is firmly secured around you and look unto the author and finisher of your faith today. His peace is still there for you too. For while the world will change with every passing Adam Lanza…God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He loves us all. Come unto Him today and find rest for your souls. Amen.

    Rev. Anthony
    Theo Fane likes this.
  2. Due to a combination of cyncism and apathy, people have resigned to what they think is their fate. If more people understood the spiritual dimension of life, evil could be combatted with greater agency. Cut off the serpent's tail and it lives; cut off its head and it dies.

Share This Page