Providence And Rest For The Soul

Matthew 11:28–30 “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.”

Jesus promises rest to his followers. This rest probably refers to the eternal rest, or eternal sabbath Christians will experience in heaven; for it is a rest for our souls. But if it is similar to Jesus’ kingdom which would be an already and not yet kind of kingdom, then the beginning of the rest would start at salvation while it’s culmination would be in eternity. I know that this is true for me.

When I was a youngster I had a restless soul. I would run a hundred miles an hour in every direction until I would find something new to stir my pot.

IMG_1288 I would eat from that pot for a while and then begin running all over again. I had learned to stuff a sock in the mouth of my conscience so that I could be comfortable in doing wrong. It was a very dangerous place to be and by rights I should be dead 70 times over. I had cut away the reigns of discipline from the hands of my authority and no one seemed to run after the straps. I was free and reckless. Interestingly enough though, my soul did not appear to be heavy laden nor restless. I was very comfortable being an autonomous atheist and loved doing whatever I pleased.

Things changed dramatically when I encountered God. Before I came to faith in Jesus Christ in 2003, he pulled the sock from the mouth of my conscience. “Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regrets, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). When God yanked out the sock, my conscience revived and produced a different kind of restlessness of soul; one that was burdened over my own sin. This is when Jesus came to rescue me out of the darkness and into his light. He came by me learning from him, through a series of sermons on Luke 9:23–24. I found that his burden was light and his yolk easy.

Almost 12 years later the burdens are different. Many day I long to have my final rest in eternity with my King. I now ache over remaining sin that seeks to revive itself in my flesh morning by morning. I ache over the state of the souls of those closest to me who have yet to take the yoke of Jesus upon them. I was reminded last night at church of the great doctrine of the providence of God. We began the conference last night where we will explore this great truth over the next five weeks. It will be the hardest study I have ever had to prepare for as I will be speaking in a few weeks on the providence of God in pain. My pastor reminded us last night that the loss of the doctrine of the providence of God has left untold fear in the lives of Christians. We fear because we have lost sight of the King who sits and reigns supreme over his creation. But also we were told that a restoration of this great doctrine will produce untold joy in the hearts of Christians. I want to be filled with untold joy, and am eager to have my eyesight corrected by the truth of this great and timely doctrine.

"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.”

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