Pastor Joshua West
Worship Pastor, Shiloh Community Church
Right now, one of my favorite things in the world is cuddling my little boy before he goes to bed at night. Because his little (almost) 2-year-old body is so full of energy 99% of the time, I rarely get time when he just sits quietly on my lap and lets me hold him. But lately, things have been a little different before bed.
His bedtime routine typically includes reading a Bible story, praying, and singing some songs before we put him down for the night (I know, WHAT have we started?!) However, it is a known fact in Jason’s mind that none of those things can/should ever happen without his two favorite cotton “blankies” and his pacifier, which he now specifically associates with bedtime/rest. Even if he starts getting tired in the middle of the day, he will routinely grab his own blankies and pacifier and find somewhere to lay down, telling me, “Jason tired, Daddy…”
Even amongst the wiggles and squirms and all the big adventures his tiny body carries him through during the day, he will still get tired. He will, at the end of the night, seek a place to rest and wind down. When Jason comes to me with his two blankies and pacifier in hand, requesting to “Snuggle Daddy?”, I can’t help but feel so overwhelmed that he sees me as a safe place to rest. A safe place to come at the end of the day. He knows I will consistently accept him with open arms and love him the same every single night.
Tonight, as I held my not-so-little-anymore baby, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much God desires for us to run to him as our place of rest. I know how wonderful it feels to have Jason relaxed, fearless, and so content in my arms at night…how much more our Father in Heaven rejoices when we, His children, choose him as our safe place to run when we are weary.
Because…we all get weary. We all get tired. We all find ourselves carrying around burdens that were never meant for us to carry. Can you think of those burdens you are holding right now in your life? Can you think of those decisions or fears that you have been clenching with closed fists, maybe even saying “I can’t do this one more day…”
You know, even on our lowest days when we feel like we can’t take another step, Jesus understands. Remember, when Jesus was hanging on the cross, He felt the whole weight of all of our sins all at once. Can you imagine that burden? (I love how the NLT puts 1 Peter 2:24: “He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.”)
Jesus knows the weight that we try to carry on our own. He also knows we were never created to carry those things alone in the first place. That’s why Jesus tells us…
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
You may feel like no one understands what you are going through today. But, Jesus has been beckoning you, asking you to crawl up on His lap…just like Jason crawls into my lap at night…and exhale. Then, take a deep breath because you are safe in the arms of a God who not only sees you and loves you, but He wants you to choose Him as your first place of refuge.
1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”