"Come to me, all 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)
I'm learning very quickly that, with two young children, I can't adjust my "alarm clock" even if I choose to stay up later than I should. Of course, that's been true most my life, but having no kids or even one is a bit more forgiving. I could push the envelope of sleeping in, especially with a job where I'm on campus more in the evening and afternoon. But as soon as my son JJ was born, Heather and I switched to "man defense" with our little ones.
However, there is still this appealing prospect of staying up late to do whatever I want, believing that I'm not tired, that I don't need to go to bed, and I can have a little more "rest." I want to be "rested." One more episode of Arrow. One more game of Madden. One more price check on the cruise I really want to go on. One more check of the budget. One more... and suddenly its midnight, and I know that regardless of what I want to do with the snooze button, I have a human alarm named Shane that will only give me so much time.
I have tried to will myself to go to bed on time. I've asked my wife to help me go to bed on time. And I've tried to remind myself of how rested I've felt when I actually got into bed on time, reading a little beforehand until I'm out like a rock, dreaming good things and waking up refreshed and excited to take on the day. I know the benefits of doing the right thing. Why do I think a Netflix binge or fantasizing about a vacation is going to be better?
It's because I want rest, and I don't believe Jesus' Word. He says "Come to me... and I will give you rest." He says "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light." But I don't believe Him.
It's why, when He commands me to steward my body, I refuse and stay up late.
It's why, when He calls me to spend time with Him, I run away and run to entertainment instead.
It's why, when He asks me to do the things He has asked me to do in my roles of husband, father, and campus staff, I'm hesitant to do them and that I desire to do other things instead.
I don't believe that He gives rest. And I don't believe He gives the BEST rest. I don't believe sticking to my schedule and doing my priorities will be the most satisfying. I don't believe that my family will be a delight. And I'm fearful I won't get to do the things I want to do like play games, watch TV, etc. I constantly swap out the God of rest for "gods" that promise rest but actually never deliver.
When priorities are re-ordered, however, and when I repent and trust God as my source of rest, everything else delivers rest. When there is time in the schedule to relax and enjoy a show, I don't feel the stress of everything around me, and I can truly rest. When I get to be with my family and stop thinking about "all I'm missing out on," chasing after my two-year old becomes a far greater delight. And I'll grieve the day when he stops asking me to "Run, Daddy!" And when I get to spend time early in the morning with my Heavenly Father, it reminds me of all that He has done to win me back. He reminds me of His deep love for me. He reminds me of how Jesus crushed my sin and is gently restoring my soul.
His burden is light because He is what delivers the most rest, even in the midst of the chaos of life. God's plea isn't to force us to rest in Him, God's plea is that we GET to rest in Him if we have trusted Christ. And praise be to Christ, that when we sin and choose to believe lies, He still welcomes us back, crawling back to Him in faith.