Every day news headlines grab our attention. Hurricane Winds Leave Thousands Homeless. Racist Rant Sparks Rioting. Health Care Costs Still Spiraling. LGBTQ Protest Hate Speech. Cyber Security Breach Expanding. Nuclear Threat More than Sabre Rattling. The onslaught of big bad news crying out for our attention and response is overwhelming. Some days it could make you want to stay in bed and pull the covers over your head.
But it was into just such a world that God sent His Son with the gospel of His grace and rescue. While the news outlets weren’t as efficient as ours today, the threatening events of Jesus day were every bit as real. Rome’s military machine crushed any public dissent, and poverty stalked the average man, with family your only hope of “social security.” And into this dangerous world God’s Son came with His invitation to a rescue and a rest for all who would put their trust in Him.
“Come to Me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
There is much about Jesus invitation that speaks to how we are to respond to the painful stories of our day – much to guide and direct our words when the conversation at our table invites our response. Let me suggest a few thoughts that come to mind for your consideration.
1. Every bad news headline is telling the story of many individual lives. Those are personal stories of individual’s lives, many of whom are wearied and beaten down. The headlines a week from now will move on, feeding the appetite of a readership hungry for “new” news. But many lives impacted by hurricane winds will never be the same. Their homes destroyed. Their livelihoods lost. Without clean water to drink their very survival at risk. Others carry the stinging memory of past discrimination and current abuse. They are angry and crying out for justice. They too are weary and desperately in need of Jesus rest.
2. The rescue Jesus offers is the only rescue great enough to touch the deep wounds of wearied lives. Aid packages alone can help storm stricken victims for a season, but they can’t heal a broken heart. A reversed jury decision may buy a temporary calm, but it can’t heal the deep divide where bitterness still reigns in the human heart. But it is in these very times of crises that Jesus invitation to His rest may first ring true.
3. Jesus still communicates His invitation through those who have experienced His rescue. Rough instruments that we are and not having it all together, we who have slipped into the yoke of His grace have a story to tell. We have a life to give. In conversation with a friend at work. By our commentary at the family dinner table that shapes a worldview. Through a sacrificial gift given through a Christian relief agency like Samaritan’s Purse. Through ongoing prayer for believers on the front lines of these crises.
I stand with those who believe that these are days of unprecedented opportunity for the good news of Jesus rest. When the natural comforts of life are stripped away, when a personal world is turned upside down, even when anger is churning in a person’s heart, then there may be the crack of an open door that allows us to walk with them in their grief. And if we listen well, and if we love deeply, and if we give sacrificially, then the invitation of Jesus can ring true when the Spirit of God bears His grace home to their restless heart.