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NOVEMBER 2004
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PatienceFinding Rest
By Mary Elder-Criss

It is very dark now, and I am weary. My burden is extremely cumbersome and the road I am traveling suddenly seems much more arduous. It has narrowed greatly in areas and contains unidentifiable threats. At certain times along the path, I have had to stop and lighten my pack to be able to continue walking. I stagger onwards, bent under the weight, trying to find a place of rest.

As daylight dawns again, I find myself unable to go on without stopping for a short while. I shrug the bag off my back and lay all the items out beside me on the grass by the side of the lane. As I survey the contents, I am astounded. How could there be so much in here when I just emptied it a short time ago?

I was sure I had discarded Anger, yet I see that there is still a fragmented piece left, and it has grown larger. As I pick up a bristly looking thorn, I see it has sprouted from the small seeds of Unforgiveness, which I have carried. No wonder my bag has grown so burdensome, I still see Confusion and Doubt in here as well. I was positive I had given those up for good. Oh and here are the Family Problems and the Financial Worries. They are extremely heavy, yet I cannot seem to leave them behind. The longer I have carried them, the larger they have become. They now seem to consume the biggest portion of my baggage. Health Concerns? Yes, they are here too. However, which of these truly, can I discard? If I do not carry them, who will?

I sit for awhile longer, and I consider the miles I still have to travel before I reach my destination. Do I really want to pick these items back up and carry them some more? Will any of them make my pilgrimage easier?

I still remember the beginning of my journey well. I started out with Trust and Faith. When did I begin to pick up these other items that I now see spread out before me? Are they souvenirs acquired from the places that I strayed from the narrow path?

As I survey them a bit longer, I bow my head in disgrace. I realize that I can no longer find Faith. It has become lost in the jumble of other items. Trust? Where is it? I get up and search through the bottom of the bag desperately, hoping to find it lodged in the corner somewhere, overlooked. Finding nothing but a small crumb of Despair, I drop the pack at my feet and fall to my knees.

"Lord!" I cry in a loud voice. "I am tired. Jesus, I need rest! I donít know how I came to replace the Trust and Faith that I had in You with the rest of this baggage. All I know is that I can no longer go on walking this narrow path with this weight on my shoulders. I need You Lord! Please take this burden from me and restore to me the joy of my salvation! I give it to You, Jesus. I cannot go on!"

Raising my head, I look around in awe. The baggage I have been carrying has disappeared. I pick up the pack and look inside. It is empty save four things. Faith and Trust have been restored. Along with them, a third blessing has appeared. Peace. I embrace it gladly. As I look deeper, I see one more gift given to me and I smile and praise the King for His goodness. For He has given me the one thing I desired the most. He has given me Rest.

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV)

© Copyright 2003
A native of beautiful Southern West Virginia, Mary is happily married to her husband, Jerry, and is the mother of three children. She has been published by a wide variety of Christian magazines, newsletters and e-zines, and has been a member of FaithWriters for over a year. You may reach her at mcriss23@earthlink.net.
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