Approximately one year ago, North America was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic. Its impact has been so devastating that we’ll only know the full extent years from now. We lost the ability to worship corporately for a time. The financial markets have been shaky at best. Politics continue to be polarizing. The Western world is struggling with social unrest. And the family continues to be pummeled by those who seek to redefine it in order to accommodate their lusts. Much of life feels messy and chaotic right now.
In the midst of this swirling vortex of disorder and panic, our emotions tend to get worked up. And while we might learn to adapt to a heightened state of anxiety in a variety of ways, we remain prone to fear. Wrestling with fear for prolonged periods of time engenders weariness. All of us are weary. The world is weary.
“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.” (Matt. 11:28–30)
While this passage is likely familiar to most Christians, we may not realize the context. This is no mere platitude suitable for embroidery on a cheap bookstore throw pillow. In the previous section, Jesus pronounced woes on those cities where He had done His mighty works, but these cities had not learned from these works to repent. Now a judgment worse than what befell Sodom awaited them. Christ offered them grace and peace, but they only wanted the chaos of their sin. It is in the context of cities, nations, and peoples that weary themselves with an unrest of their own making that Jesus calls His elect to Himself. It is in the very context in which we find ourselves that Jesus says, “Come and rest.” In the midst of the cities of woe, Jesus looks to the Father and gives thanks for the covenant of redemption. In the commotion of this present evil age, Jesus gives rest to weary souls.
While the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain, the Lord laughs (Ps. 2:1, 4). God is not anxious about the current state of the world. In fact, He has ordained it so that His glory might shine through more brilliantly. Jesus saw the weariness produced by the chaos of our lives and entered it to offer us rest. He offers an assured rest from any terror and anxiety that we feel right now. The unrest of the world tells us to frantically worry and work to secure our position. But Jesus tells us that by His work, it is finished. As Martin Luther penned, “Though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, we will not fear, for God has willed His truth to triumph through us.”