Full disclosure: I love snow days. I mean, they’re not dethroning Christmas in my heart, but they’re definitely esteemed members of the court. There is something magical about waking up to a world glittering with white and knowing much of the world will be forced to slow down, at least a little, even if that’s only temporary.
I know much of the magic of a snow day is lost on adults not working in education, but this “unplanned pause” is what I look most forward to as a teacher and father of four. Like many Americans, our weeks are packed. Typically, there is only one night not designated as a practice or service. We’re really intentional about running ragged as a whole herd, but ragged we remain. A forced stop in the middle of a week we can’t anticipate means a moment in time we don’t pre-fill with something else, and it’s absolute bliss.
I’m writing this article the evening of one of those blessedly unplanned pauses, and it’s got me thinking about the ultimate rest Jesus promises. In Matthew 11:28, He says: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” There is an implication in this verse that people will be weighed down by the pressures of this life and in need of rest. In fact, since Jesus makes it very clear He came offering rescue to all in need of His salvation (which is everyone), I think it’s safe to assume this heavily-laden condition is universal.
It naturally, then, creates in us a longing for rest. I know that’s been my condition. I feel like I live my life at the speed of light, and the mention of a rest that is true and rejuvenating excites my heart. I mean, even today, after the most awesome of pauses, I don’t feel completely rested. Responsibilities aside, a snow day with four kids provides a lot of memories but not necessarily a lot of rest. Part of that is because we don’t really have much of a hill to speak of, so for the past 12 years, I have simulated sledding for my kids by pulling them on a sled through our yard. They are getting older, as are my legs, so I might even feel more in need of rest after today! Truthfully though, this will always be the case. Even the best of this world will fall short of His rest.
Yet, that rest is promised for all who come to Him, and we can trust that it will be complete because when He comes “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Isaiah 1:18b
Part of what makes real rest so illusive is that we can’t outrun ourselves. Our own sinful hearts stir up enough brokenness without the help of any outside forces. But when Jesus comes to our rescue, even that which stains us from within — that from which we can never escape in our strength — will be wonderfully made white as snow. (Do you see what I did there?)
Until next week, live every day like it’s Christmas (or even a snow day)! God bless.
Bobby Upchurch is the pastor at Providence Baptist Church in Bonne Terre where he lives with his wife, Melissa, and their four children. He is also an English teacher at Farmington High School. Bobby writes a weekly column for the Farmington Press opinion page. – Editor