It occurred to me recently that there is no promise of ease in the Bible, only of rest. There is a difference between entering his rest as I carry the burden he’s carefully chosen for me, and finding the burden he’s chosen easy to carry. A lighter load is still a load, and it would be foolish to suggest lightness means ease – try holding your arm out to the side for half an hour – even with an empty hand!
Sometimes, in my misunderstanding of rest, I long for ease, and when I don’t find life easy, I give up on entering his rest. So I think the first step to entering God’s rest is to understand His yoke means work for which I was created, and His light burden means rest for my soul that would otherwise be burdened with my sin.
Part of the rest of Jesus is the lighter burden. Yes, we need to wear his yoke and be about His Father’s business, but the burden he asks us to carry is light in comparison to the burden we strap onto our hearts with sin, and rules, and legalism.
Rest begins to look a little different when I realize the things God has called me to do – or to endure – are just the right size burden for my soul. His burden is exactly what I need to carry on a journey to make me fit for heaven. I can only enter his rest when I recognize the burden of sin I strapped to my own back made such a journey, and such fitness, impossible. My idea of rest changes as I see the light and momentary afflictions (2 Corinthians 4:17) of this life and compare them to the future glory awaiting me because Jesus carried the crushing weight of my heavy and permanent iniquity.
Sometimes I think I can only truly appreciate the sun after weeks of rain, and the fulness of joy after tasting the bitterness of sorrow. Similarly, I only understand the rest of wearing his yoke and walking under the weight of his light burden when I see it in contrast to the struggle of bearing up under the weight of my sin and shame. I can only enter his rest when I see, really see, what Christ has done for me through his death and resurrection.
Entering his rest is directly tied to the grace of my sin burden being carried by Christ and replaced with a calling better suited for my soul.
Entering his rest is directly tied to the grace of his approval of me being based on Christ’s perfection, rather than my attempts to overcome imperfection.
Entering his rest is directly tied to the grace of God seeing me through the lens of Christ’s obedience, rather than standing in my own condemnation.
Entering his rest is directly tied to the grace of knowing how great is the gap between God and me, and that God provided the only bridge that could span such a gap.
Entering his rest is directly tied to the grace of understanding, even now, he has a hand on the burdens he’s asked me to carry, ensuring they cannot cause me to stumble off his path.
Entering his rest is directly tied to grace.
Entering his rest is directly tied to the grace of Christ crucified.