Come to me, all you that are weary
and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
That's surely the response some people have when they hear those words of Jesus. Sure, just show up in front of God and your burdens—your financial problems, your difficult coworkers, your longest-held prejudices—will be lifted away.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,” the old Protestant hymn says, and—as I remember it—the “things of earth will grow strangle dim”.
But a lot of people have known about God all their lives and have always chosen Jesus as their path to God, but they somehow still seem heavily burdened. How can that be?
Here's what I think people don't always understand: God doesn't promise to take away our problems. God doesn't promise to take us to such a high spiritual place that the things of this planet are no longer important. God doesn't even promise to protect us from evil, from pain or from that empty feeling of hopelessness.
Giving us rest—as well as hope, joy and a sense that some kind of merciful justice exists in the world—is God's job. And I think God is doing pretty well.
You know, I wish I had more money. And I wish I had a little more energy so I could cram even more into each day. But when I pray, I've stopped asking God for money, time and abilities. I ask God to quiet my sometimes-troubled soul. I ask for God's spirit of gentleness to blow through the wilderness of life and make it calmer and more sane. In other words, I ask God for some much-needed rest from my heavy burdens