In the last few days I have heard 3 people who are dear to me use the phrase “I am at my breaking point.”  All for completely unique reasons and seasons of life demands.  And because I love them I am so grateful that they all have growing and vibrant relationships with the one who is ultimately able to empower.  Then I read this verse today as part of my small group preparation:

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” — 1 Peter 4:12

It is not strange when we face difficulty.  It is the norm as opposed to the exception.  Crazy hard stuff happens to insanely awesome people.  Because of this truth, and the vulnerability of my sweet friends, I have been drawn to linger on the words God offers on the subject.

“Come to me,  all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” — Matthew 11:28-30

These words are so clear, so personal, so intimate.  It is so overwhelmingly relevant to those whose aching souls need someone who is truly able to allow them to bear up. It is like salve on a sore heart to bathe in the words which highlight the sweet characteristic of God’s compassion.  What a promise!  That is something trustworthy; something worthy of clinging to.

I also find it intriguing and equally as important for our expectations to realize that this passage does not in any way indicate God will strip away the things that cause us discomfort, or pain.  He simply says he will enable us to bear up under the burden.  He offers rest.

I have a sister friend who’s husband is leaving on a short notice deployment in a week.  They are breaking the news to their sweet young daughter as I type.  The promise in Matthew is one very sweet to her right now.  God has not “fixed” this situation and given her rest by halting his deployment.  At this point, he is still going.  But there is something supernatural about the dose of strength, grace, capacity to mother, push forward. and offer emotional stamina, etc. that I have already seen in her response.  He promises rest when she goes to Him.

We launched a business (our 3rd – holy exhaustion) almost 2 years ago.  My husband is basically brilliant, I tease him about it all the time.  But when you run a thousand miles a minute for 2 years straight, there is a strain on the “normal” expectations of engagement in the precious “down-time” that we cherish.  The consistent message I have received when I open my Bible and engage with the God I love is this: “I will sustain you.”  And he has.  We are happily married, a little tired (K, maybe a lot tired), but deeply fulfilled.

His yoke is one we can trust, one we can bear up under.  When people do not know God they choose not to take hold of this promise of rest and power and grace; this promise becomes irrelevant. There is great benefit in knowing Him.  In all seasons of life.  Our enemy wishes to “steal, kill and destroy” us; and he will if we let him. So where is our power in this?  I LOVE this next one…

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” – Ephesians 1:18-19

This is something we pray over our kids all the time.  There is no greater power source to tap into, nothing compared to the greatness of knowing this God.  There is victory to be had in all circumstances when you hold an eternal perspective – and it is available to us all. When I am at my breaking point, I want someone big and more eternally powerful and capable than me, to empower me to bear up under it.  That is the God I love, the God who is so wildly compassionate, that he cares enough to engage in the stuff that would otherwise break us.  He is good.