January 17th, 2010



At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

—Matthew 11:25-30

Jesus invites us not to a general, "take a break" rest, but to the deep rest which comes from having who He is revealed to us by our Father and from knowing that it is our Father's will that He be sovereign over all things. Not only do we rest in Him, but we also work in Him, taking on His burden with Him as our yokefellow and discovering how very much lighter it all becomes when we no longer shoulder the weight of the world. We learn from Him—He is our teacher and we are the pupils. And all of this is of a piece, a package deal rather than just a phrase to hang onto when we're exhausted.

Anyone who would truly rest in Jesus must be planted firmly in the knowledge that He is sovereign and good, or at the very least be struggling to run toward this truth rather than from it. Anyone who would rest in Him must also take on His work and His fellowship, walking in light of what He has done and joining Him in what He is doing, for no greater reason than the fact that He is there. Anyone who would rest in Him must learn from Him, submitting to His authority and wisdom, listening for His voice, being corrected and trained by the Master. And anyone who would rest in Him does so only by the gracious revelation of our Father, who opens our eyes to the glory of His Son.
Jesus saves

Balance is an awful thing to keep

We started 2010 with a whirlwind trip to visit both our families (first in Alabama, then in Iowa), and I'm just now starting to feel the beginnings of a normal rhythm settling in. Don't think I'd have changed a thing—travelling in January is so much simpler and less expensive than taking the same trip in December, and it was the right time to spend that time with each of our families. That said, January is always a bit of a zoo with navigating year-end close and plenty of other work details, so the pacing of the first half of the month is really no surprise.

Thing is, it's not all about rhythms, or discipline, or rest. Those things matter, no doubt, and are worthy of attention and effort. But they matter in the context of a larger, deeper, truer story, one in which I'm called to trust God with my life. Not that I'm doing so perfectly, or even well many times. If making my life work and taking care of myself is solely up to me, however, I can already tell you it ends in failure (probably very quickly and spectacularly so).

I don't want to worship at the altar of lifestyle design, however appealing that may be. I've seen the results, and they're grotesque. Sometimes being faithful means running hard. Heck, sometimes running hard is absolutely a mistake, and yet I have a God who promises my failures don't have the last word. As the Pegleg Annie song says, "Balance is an awful thing to keep."