Read: Psalm 131; Matthew 11:28-30
I know that we're well into January, but if I may, I'd like to share a Christmas Conundrum that I walk through almost every year. In mid-December, thoughts of special little homemade gifts for our loved ones begin to tumble around in my mind. Maybe a new mix in a jar? What about a special confection I haven't made in a long time? Or, could there be a pretty ornament I could make that would take no skill or vision? I know! Anyone who turns out beautiful crafts knows how unlikely that is. Even so, this past December, I did ponder the idea of a glass ornament filled with glitter. Could anything be lovelier than the light dancing off glass balls filled with different colorful glistening glitter? Might there be a way I could create these gifts? Of course, at that late stage of the game, I didn't do anything with the idea, and it melted away like snow flurries that fall on warm cement. However, earlier this week, I decided to look for this project on the Internet. Maybe I could make them for next Christmas? Right away I was encouraged by two things. The project takes only a few minutes, and the "what you need list" is short. A good start. However, it didn't take long to discover that all that glitters is not for me.
The first step in making the ornaments involved pouring just enough floor polish into the glass ball. The polish acts as a glue. That was followed by the direction to swirl it around until the inside surface was covered. Not too much was to be used, and the excess was to be poured back into a bowl or its original container. Then the glitter was to be poured inside the glass ball. Not too much because glitter goes a long way. Then, with the hole at the top covered, it was time to shake the glitter all around the soon-to-be ornament. How would I know how much floor polish was enough to do its job, and how would I determine how much glitter was sufficient to give the desired beautiful appearance? I decided that the project was not for me. Even so, it's a nice craft for those whose lack of vision or hand dexterity won't get in the way. :-)
In Psalm 131, David who was Israel's king made a beautiful statement. He admitted to his own lack of vision. Especially when compared with His God's. It is here that the warrior/singer spoke about his not pondering things that were beyond his ability to understand. What a humble picture he provided for us. This was the one who commanded generals and they obeyed his instructions. God had brought many victories over Israel's enemies through him; yet, let's pause and think of David's illustration that we have been given in this psalm. The psalm began with David's admission that there were things too wonderful for him to understand. He displayed humility here. God says that He gives grace to the humble, and David surely had an attitude of lowliness that placed him where God could bless him, Proverbs 3:34. Even though he was Israel's king, David understood that God Almighty was the only one Who could understand everything. David said that he didn't occupy himself with the things that were too great or wonderful for him to understand. Instead, David in this psalm, rested in God. The king compared himself with a calmed and quieted weaned child. He was content to ponder the things God showed him. What a beautiful picture for us to consider as we think about trusting and resting in God.
David's words remind me of Jesus' invitation in Matthew 11:28-30. Here, Jesus called the weary ones to put down their burdens and the sin they bore. They had been trying to please God through their own efforts and works. No matter the heaviness of the load they carried, they couldn't unburden themselves. The problem was that they saw themselves differently than God did. The Savior wanted them to have a God's-eye-view so they could be free from their burden and know how much He loved them, John 3:16.
Jesus wants everyone to come to Him and rest in His finished work, John 19:30. No more trying to figure out how much we must do to please God or how much sin we can commit before God gives up on us! How could we ever know when enough was enough? Instead, God offers us rest when we rely wholly on Him. We rest like that contented weaned child. The attempt to understand things doesn't end when we rest in Jesus for salvation. When we try to understand what is too hard for us, weariness sets in. We are, at these times, trying to see with eyes that are not strong or wise enough to see what God is doing. Often, I try with human eyes to fathom what only Holy eyes can truly see, and that's when weariness sets in. Instead of trying to make sense of what I can't understand, Jesus invites me to learn more about Him. He is meek and longs to give me rest. This is, once again, the rest that David described in Psalm 131.
Back to Jesus' words in Matthew 11:28-30. It is here that we are invited to be yoked with Jesus. We are told that His yoke is easy and that His burden is light. If we try to figure things out on our own without Jesus’ help, the burden is heavy, and we once again, are carrying a load we were never intended to heft. Whether it is the burden of sin or times when we try to figure things out or fix them, God longs to bring us relief. How? By reminding us that He alone has the understanding that eludes us. Psalm 55:22 commands us to cast our burdens on the Lord. He promises to sustain us. We need to allow the One Who can handle every burden, to carry ours.
Why is it easy to understand that certain projects are beyond my ability because of my blindness? Of course, it is simple. The lack of vision sets up obvious barriers. On the other hand, why is it often difficult to let go of burdens that God never intended that we carry? Perhaps, it is because we sometimes forget our limitations and how much we need the Lord. We forget that what we can see is such a minuscule part of the whole picture that only God sees. Our hearts get entangled in the Humpty Dumpty mess all around us, and we forget the rest that He is always holding out to us. Often, it is when we rest in the Lord that He gives us the step He wants us to take as a part of making right what seems so unfathomable. Psalm 37:23 reminds us that our steps are ordered by the Lord. When we relate to Him as David did, we see, once again, how big God truly is.
Lord, Help us to choose Your vision rather than our limited viewpoint. Thank You for Your patience when we forget to rest in You.