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A Message on Weariness

President Ellis speaking at chapel

By: SAU President Dr. Brent Ellis

The deeper our society walks into the waters of the COVID-19 pandemic, the greater our uncertainty around multiple aspects of life essential to human flourishing. Elementary human psychology understands the importance of personal safety; items like personal security, health, employment and resources are on the second tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In essence, if an individual does not possess resources for the basic needs of life, is not employed, does not experience personal safety and security and experiences health risks, the individual’s ability to grow personally is negatively impacted in significant fashions. Each day we, as a global society, take a deeper step into the consequences of the Coronavirus, all of us suffer and experience an increasing weariness of carrying this burden.

Jesus’s words recorded in Matthew 11:28 calling the weary to come to him and receive rest seem like a wonderful invitation, but they are somewhat disconnected to the reality of our experience. Weighing this invitation with the context of David’s words found in Psalm 4:6-8 helps our understanding. David writes, “Many ask, ‘Who can show us the good?’ Shine the light of Your face upon us, O LORD. You have filled my heart with more joy than when grain and new wine abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” In this Psalm, David responds to those who only understand security and peace through a temporal perspective. True peace and true security are not found in grain and new wine, but through intimacy with God and the riches of eternal blessings. The apostle Paul expresses this same sentiment in Philippians 4:12-13, writing, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” 

Jesus’s promise of rest for the weary and the burdened should not be associated with temporal circumstances, but instead a shift of perspective from the temporal to the eternal. His invitation serves as a reminder to all of us that this world is passing away, but whoever does the will of God abides forever (I John 2:17). My prayer for all of you in this time is that you will lie down and sleep in peace, because God alone makes you dwell in safety.