Lay It All Down

There are arms always open to you. There is always One who is listening. There is always a place to find rest.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”-Matthew 11:28-30

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Trusting the Father

I hate to admit that an ear-ache and sinus congestion is enough to knock me off my feet for the day, but…that’s exactly what happened today. Since I couldn’t handle much else, I’ve watched more (detailed) news than I have in a while.

All of the headlines I saw were unsettling. As I watched families in distress, the confusion and tension of our own nation’s political sphere, and the precarious international situations, I felt afraid. I felt frustrated that I have absolutely zero control in these crisis moments that could affect my family…I can’t predict or stop the violence that shows up even in our schools, on our streets, and rocks the foundations of families across the globe.

I had to take a breath (and, um, turn off the news). And because I wondered if some of you might be feeling anxious about things too, I wanted to remind us – it’s time to look to our Father.  

Once upon a time, when one of my younger sisters was feeling apprehension about the future, I put it this way…

Me:  You know Dad, right?

Her: Duh.

Me: Yeah, okay. Deserved. Anyway, what would you do if Dad showed up and told you to get in the car because he wanted to take you somewhere? You shouldn’t even pack a  bag because he’ll get what you need on the way.

Her: I’d want to know where we were going!

Me: Sure,  but what if he said you just had to wait and see? Because it was a surprise? Would you do what he said?

Her: That’d be weird. But yes.

Me: Yes. Because you know he has only ever done things that were good for you. Because you know he’ll take care of you. Because he’s Dad.

I’m sure you can see where I was going with that line of thought, but bear with me…I need the reminder today.

My siblings and I know that our dad loves us and so we trust him. If my dad tells me something, I believe him. I know he is speaking and acting for my best interests (even if at the time of some of those decisions during my childhood, I may not have believed it…;)).  I know that he has never once purposefully hurt me and has never abandoned me…if a time comes when I need help, I know he’ll be there. Because of who he is and because of how he has always been worthy of my trust, if he showed up at my house tomorrow and told me to get into the car?  I’d get in. Even if he wouldn’t tell me where we were headed. I’d trust that it must be important.  If it was a long drive, I’d probably even kick back and sleep on the way.

If my earthly father has taken such good care of me so that I’d trust him to the ends of the earth, shouldn’t I trust my Heavenly Father–this Almighty God who has ever pursued me with unalterable love– even more?

I don’t know what your experience with a father-figure has been on this earth, but I know with absolute certainty that you are loved by your Father in Heaven. I know that He created you, fearfully and wonderfully, and I know that this planet spins and blooms by His power. I know that nations have risen and fallen, but His Word has remained. I know that wars have come and gone, seasons and seasons passed by, the world has changed in so many ways – -but He is still the same. Yesterday, today, and forever He knows exactly where we all began and He knows exactly where we are going. Alpha and Omega, Author and Finisher, the First and the Last — He is in control of every generation and ours is no exception.

So, no, we don’t know what can unfold even by the end of the night — but our Father knows. And whatever the journey requires along the way, He will provide. He will give us the strength, the grace, and the peace to handle every pit-stop, every mountain, every flood, every treacherous terrain. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?…So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’…your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow…” (from Matthew 6)

He just wants us to trust Him. To know that He is working things out for our best interests. To know that He can handle the car, the road, the navigation, the destination, and everything we need from beginning to end. He doesn’t want us to be afraid of the future. He doesn’t want us to sit and worry…in fact, He wants us to have such peace in His power that we can kick back and rest in Him all along the way.

He wants us to know, without doubt, that nothing can separate us from His love.  Nothing.For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (from Romans 8)

We are secure in His love and so He will carry us from this chapter of our story to the next, the one only He can see. And He will do so with the same love, the same compassion, and the same goodness that He has always shown to us, His children.

So if you feel worried about the state of this world or the state of your life, talk to your Father. He wants to speak peace into your heart and to let you know that, whatever happens in this world, He is looking out for you. He’s taking care of all things. And whenever you need Him, He is already right there with you.

Psalm 121

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.”