Come to Me: Christ’s Call to Your Weary Heart
by Amanda Barratt
Have you ever taken a walk in the woods and come across a patch of wildflowers? I love happening upon a cluster of blossoms and taking a moment to stop and admire their vibrant colors and smell the fragrance. Finding them in the forest feels like discovering an unexpected gift. Wildflowers affirm the beauty of life, as they spread that beauty to all who see them.
Sometimes, my faith is like those wildflowers, blooming and flourishing, adorning my soul with hope. Radiating from within and spreading hope to others.
Other times, my faith is like a desert. Scrubbed raw by the wind and grit of life. Parched from the merciless glare of circumstances. Dry. Barren.
Can you relate?
The past weeks have been hard for us all. When we bought our pretty planners and crafted lists of our yearly goals and dreams, we penciled in milestones like graduations and weddings, planned vacations and trips, and set goals for ourselves and our families. None of us anticipated a pandemic would empty our calendars, long-awaited events canceled or postponed, our routines altered as children come home from school and family members are laid off work. None of us imagined that going to the store to purchase groceries would become an event marked by empty shelves and stomach-twisting anxiety. We never planned for the soothing rhythm of church on Sunday to be replaced by live-streamed services, or for our already tight finances to be wrenched even tighter. We never expected the breath-stealing fear for the health and safety of those we hold dear, nor the grief of loved ones lost.
As I’ve dealt with the past several weeks, I admit my faith has often felt more like a desert, withering beneath the blazing heat of external circumstances, than a patch of wildflowers, flourishing in the midst of a wilderness. This is true, not only in this current season, but during many seasons I’ve faced over the years as my family and I walked the valleys of loss, chronic illness, financial hardship, and broken relationships. All of us have borne the weight of days when it’s an effort to summon the strength to get out of bed, let alone gather our scattered selves to form a prayer or focus our minds on the Word.
How do we trust when our souls are weary? How do we hold fast when our faith is dry?
In Matthew 11, we find the answer.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
As I revisited this verse, one imprinted on my memory since childhood, one phrase stood out to me. Not the “weary and burdened” part, which is usually what has me nodding in agreement—“Yep, Lord. If you called for a show of hands, both of mine would be raised high.” Nor even the line, “I will give you rest.”
This time, as I read, three little words stood out, the letters taking flight from the page and filling my spirit almost audibly.
Come to me.
The image that rises to my mind is of a little girl, with dirt-stained clothes, battered knees, and a tear-streaked face. And of a father, crouched down, arms open wide, inviting.
Come to me.
It doesn’t matter if the little girl was pushed, or if her own foolishness caused the fall. She doesn’t have to clean her clothes or dry her tears. She doesn’t have to come up with words that make sense in order to approach.
All she has to do is limp into her daddy’s arms.
A loving father doesn’t require his daughter to be perfect before gathering her close. When his little girl is most broken is when he most wants to pick her up. And though the sting of her cuts and throb of her bruises rarely goes away immediately, she has her daddy to hold her through the pain.
Though some of us may never have experienced the unconditional love of an earthly parent, we have a heavenly Father to hold us through the hurt. It’s up to us to run, or limp, or crawl to Him. With our scraped souls and weary faith. With all the inner barrenness of our hearts in crisis.
Come to me.
In the moments when tears choke our throats and we can’t voice a prayer. On the days when loss weighs us down or a thousand stresses ping like little hailstones one after the other. When the future looks uncertain and the world feels dark.
Come to Him.
For in Him, our souls find rest.
Amanda Barratt is the ECPA best-selling author of over a dozen novels and novellas, including The White Rose Resists: A Novel of the German Students Who Defied Hitler and My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love. Connect with her at www.facebook.com/amandabarrattauthor and visit her at www.amandabarratt.net.
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