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Grief and Rest

Sometimes Jesus’ words just don’t get our attention, especially when we are grieving. For example, when we grieve we never think of Jesus’ familiar words from Matthew 11.

First, the words as they appear in a modern, widely accepted translation: “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give your rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29 NAS)

Why turn to these words in sorrow?

Because Jesus’ response to grief-filled circumstance or sorrow-heavy situations may be understood as follows in verse 28: “Come to me, all who are weary in sorrow and burdened with grief, and I will lift you, giving rest to your spirit and peace to your soul.”

Every time I have grieved, I have needed this promise of rest for my soul.

Verse 29 offers a promise we may read as follows: “Take my school of life and faith and follow it, and you will find rest, you will find wholeness and peace for your soul.” Interestingly, here the Hebrew word for “rest” refers to the Jewish ‘shabbat’ or Sabbath rest.

What is described here is the promise and the divine assurance that in our grief the Holy One offers what every grieving heart needs---Sabbath rest. When we grieve the death of one dear to us, God in Christ Jesus offers us Sabbath rest---any moment of the day, any time of the year.

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