The Unforced Rhythms of Grace
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30, Message)
Tired and Worn Out? Well, sometimes life’s battles can and do leave us bruised, tired and worn out. Yes, we can also get burned out doing the right things – job, marriage, raising kids, school, and church work. Isaiah 40:28-31 tells us that even the youths can faint, but our God never faints nor grows weary.
Come to me: Ah, what a wonderful invitation. Jesus invites us to get away with Him. Spending time with Him in the quietness of our soul is key to recovery. Isaiah 40:31 sums it up very well, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” John 7:37.
Walk with me: We hardly ever ‘walk with’ the Lord. We are either trotting ahead of Him or lagging well behind him. But Jesus invites us to walk and work with Him. We are to watch how He does it, and take each step as we watch Him take His. Jesus lived on earth by walking with and depending on the Father (John 12:49-50) – that’s how we are to live and work on earth too. That, according to the Lord, is how to take a real rest.
Rhythms of grace: Life’s best comes by grace. We are saved by grace. Grace has its own rhythms, its timing, and its ways and means. But there are other rhythms in life too. There is the worldly rhythm of survival of the fittest. There is the rhythm of ‘all you have is all you worked for.’ There is the rhythm of worry, anxiety, strenuous exertion of strength and will power. But we choose to dance to the rhythm of grace – letting God be God, and receiving all that He is giving us here and now.
Unforced rhythms of grace: We can’t force the hands of grace. Sure, we may pray, fast and believe. But our prayer must not be panicky, stubbornly insistent demands of an unreasonable child. We must learn to be at peace as we wait for the rhythms of grace. We must learn to flow with the tide, and not against it. Insisting on having things our way and in our time doesn’t always work out God’s marvelous grace. No wonder God tells us, “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” (Psalm 46: 10, Message). We need to consciously step out of the traffic long enough to see God in His majesty and rest on Him fully.
Keep company with me: That is the sum totality of our calling, to keep company with Christ all through life’s journey. He enables us to live freely and lightly as we keep company with Him. He won’t lay any heavy or ill-fitting burden on us. What a way to go through life’s journey – unburdened, free, graceful, gracious, and dancing to the unforced rhythms of God’s wonderful grace.