In this verse, Jesus issues a call to the entirety of humanity because we all “labor,” or are “heavy laden.” Some suffer under the weight of toil while others weep from the incapacitating burden that toil so often brings. However, whether it is active or passive, every one of us experiences suffering. So, Christ speaks to us through the one thing that every single one of us has in common – the cross.
What does Jesus promise? Does He say, “Come to me, all those of you who are working and you will never have to work again; come to me those of you who are bearing under tremendous burden and you will never be burdened again?” No; He says, “Come…and I will give you REST. Come, all of you who trod this world’s road and I will give you the power to trod more abundantly. Come, all of you are carrying the weight of a heavy cross and I will give you the strength to carry it more lightly. Come, all of you who are working and I will give you the ability to work even more. Come, all of you who are burdened down, and I will give you the power to press on.”
The promise of power that the Lord offers is the reality of rest that comes from within. Jesus says to us, “You will find rest for your souls.” If there were only a way for us to find rest for our souls, then surely we would have the ability to rest anywhere. Those who cry out in the dark hours of the night for some thorn to be removed perhaps have never considered that there is something else that is sufficient for their suffering – a rest that comes from within. What a blessing it would be if, even while the thorn remained, you could be made to forget its pain! What if you could be so caught up in a great and glorious thought that you became oblivious to not only it’s pain, but its very presence? What if that which causes you to crumble under its great burden were to be counterbalanced by the greater weight of eternal glory?
This is the promise of Jesus for you. The rest that you long for must come from within, not from without. The things of this world will never bring this rest, and the loss of those things can not take it from you. If you will simply seek to draw close to Christ’s heart, and feel His great love for you then you will be independent of the green pastures and still waters – and then ALL of your pastures will be green, and your waters will be still. You thorn will be transformed into your flower; your weight will become your wing; your cross will become your crown of glory when you find the rest He has promised – rest for your soul.