It’s late. It’s past the bedtime hour. They think I’m studying. They think I think they’re going to sleep. I know better. Too many giggles. Too many whispers. Too many trips to the closet to get another doll. Too many dashes in the dark to trade pillows.
It’s late. It’s time for little girls to be going to sleep. But for four-year-old Jenna and two-year-old Andrea, sleep is the last item on their list of things to do.
Here’s the list.
Andrea still needs to flip on her back and let her feet hang out the crib a bit.
Jenna will fluff her pillow, then fluff her pillow and, well, it still needs a little fluffing.
Andrea will scoot from one side of the bed to the other.
Jenna has yet to count her fingers in a whisper and pump her make-believe bicycle.
And before sleep settles over them, more juice will be requested, another song will be sung, and a story will be told.
I love it. It’s a game. The contestants? Childhood joy and sleepy eyes. The name of the game? Catch-me-if-you-can.
Sleep is determined to bring the day to a close, and joy is determined to stretch the day out as long as possible. One last enchanted kingdom. One last giggle. One last game.
Maybe you are like that. Maybe, if you had your way, your day would never end. Every moment demands to be savored. You resist sleep as long as possible because you love being awake so much. If you are like that, congratulations. If not, welcome to the majority.
Most of us have learned another way of going to bed, haven’t we? It’s called crash and burn. Life is so full of games that the last thing we want is another one as we are trying to sleep. So, for most of us, it’s good-bye world, hello pillow. Sleep, for many, is not a robber but a refuge—eight hours of relief for our wounded souls.
And if you are kept awake, it’s not by counting your fingers but by counting your debts, tasks, or even your tears.
You are tired.
You are weary.
Weary of being slapped by the waves of broken dreams.Weary of being stepped on and run over in the endless marathon to the top.
Weary of trusting in someone only to have that trust returned in an envelope with no return address.
Weary of staring into the future and seeing only futility.
What steals our childhood zeal? For a child, the possibilities are limitless.
Then weariness finds us. Sesame Street gets traffic-jammed. Dreams of Peter Pan are buried with Grandpa. And Star Trek’s endless horizon gets hidden behind smog and skyscrapers.
What is the source of such weariness? What are the names of these burdens?
In this book we are looking at three. Futility, failure, and finality. The three Fs on the human report card. The three burdens that are too big for any back, too heavy for any biceps. Three burdens that no man can carry alone.
Let’s look at futility. Few things can weary you more than the fast pace of the human race. Too many sprints for success. Too many laps in the gray-flannel fast lane. Too many nine-to-five masquerade parties. Too many days of doing whatever it takes eventually take their toll. You are left gasping for air, holding your sides on the side of the track.
And it isn’t the late night reports or countless airports that sap your strength as much as it is the question you dare not admit you are asking yourself. Is it worth it? When I get what I want, will it be worth the price I paid?
Perhaps those were the thoughts of a San Antonio lawyer I read about recently. Successful, well paid, with a new wife and a remodeled house. But apparently it wasn’t enough. One day he came home, took a gun out of his vault, climbed into a sleeping bag, and took his life. His note to his bride read, “It’s not that I don’t love you. It’s just that I’m tired and I want to rest.”
It is this weariness that makes the words of the carpenter so compelling. Listen to them. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Come to me.… The invitation is to come to him. Why him?
He offers the invitation as a penniless rabbi in an oppressed nation. He has no political office, no connections with the authorities in Rome. He hasn’t written a best-seller or earned a diploma.
Yet, he dares to look into the leathery faces of farmers and tired faces of housewives and offer rest. He looks into the disillusioned eyes of a preacher or two from Jerusalem. He gazes into the cynical stare of a banker and the hungry eyes of a bartender and makes this paradoxical promise: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
The people came. They came out of the cul-de-sacs and office complexes of their day. They brought him the burdens of their existence, and he gave them not religion, not doctrine, not systems, but rest.
As a result, they called him Lord.
As a result, they called him Savior.
Not so much because of what he said, but because of what he did.
What he did on the cross during six hours, one Frida
Max Lucado, Six Hours, One Friday