Len Browning: Finding rest in the midst of turmoil
February 22, 2018
My life is busy … by choice. Recently — in addition to the normal weight of the business of life — in a 12-hour period, I had a flood of "extra cargo".
My wife, Cheryle, and I were caring for two grandsons for a few days, as their mother was in Denver undergoing a minor surgery. Late one evening, my 1-year-old granddaughter was diagnosed with a life-threatening blood disorder, requiring transfer to specialized testing and treatment in Denver.
Another two of my grandsons tested positive for influenza, and their brother was bitten by a dog. Not necessarily a big deal, except Cheryle and I were also caring for my mother, who just returned to her home and is in need of 24-hour care, and the infected grandsons had been in close proximity to us and my mother recently.
We were to be relieved of my mother's care by a daughter, who also had sick kids and, therefore, was rendered unavailable.
So, in addition to the stress of worrying about a very sick granddaughter and an influenza outbreak in the family, Cheryle and I were exhausted from (the privilege of) caring for my mom.
Did I mention that we also help three days each week with Cheryle's mom so she can remain in her home as she navigates the world of dementia?
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Then, my friend, Doug Zirkle, from The Mission of Grace in Hayden, texted to ask me to pray, as they had just experienced a fire that rendered their facility uninhabitable for the foreseeable future.
I was a bit overwhelmed — physically, emotionally and spiritually overloaded.
My thoughts, almost immediately (after thinking I wish I was skiing, and I need a drink or a vacation) turned to the words of Jesus:
Matthew 11:28-30: “Come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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.”
The language nuances in Greek for heavy laden refers to a shipping term — overloaded and weary here is fatigue from physical exertion, emotional distress or especially grief.
My experience and this word from the Lord raises a question for all of us: To what/whom do you turn when the straw that breaks the camel's back is applied to your life?
Too often, we run to inappropriate relationships, substances, anger or other ways of acting out when the offer from Jesus remains … Come unto me and you will find rest for your soul.
God cares, and Jesus is enough … for everything.
Pastor Len Browning is pastor of The Journey at First Baptist.