How many of us have had times when we could not sleep. Sometimes it was because of stress, worry, or pain. Many times it may be because of resentment, lack of forgiveness, and discontentment with our situation of life.
God can give us rest without sleep because sometimes sleep will be withheld to give us a quiet time with God. Scripture says in Matthew 11 28–30
“Come unto me all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke and learn from me. I am gentle and humble and you will find rest for your souls. My yoke is easy to bear and my burden is light”
When reading this passage, I see that Jesus is not offering rest to everyone. He is telling us specifically who he is talking to. He did not say come rich, come powerful people, come wise, or come fools. This was a special offer to the weary. I think Jesus knew the circumstances where we would seek rest. He knew he needed words of life for those who are in the struggle
Rest is a spiritual gift whereas sleep is a physical condition. God gives us rest when we come to him and give him our burdens. It seems such an uneven exchange – Burdens for rest. But he is accustomed to uneven exchanges for he exchanged our sin for the gift of eternal life. Also in the scripture, he is asking that we learn of him. Then he tells us what we will learn. How many teachers give us a test and then tell us the answer. But in the passage, Jesus does just that. He said exactly what you will learn ” I am gentle and humble and you will find rest for yourself” Jesus offers us rest but we must seek it with open eyes. He will not show it. It is up to us to find it. We can find it in the beautiful sunrise and sunset, in the quiet sounds of the night, and in the chirping of the birds. When we acknowledge all of creation and see it as our gift from God, we experience rest. In verse 30 it says ” my yoke is easy and my burden is light” The dictionary defines yoke as a wooden cross piece that is fastened over the neck of two animals and attached to the plow. When I read this Jesus is saying as long as you are attached(yoked) to me, I will pull you along with virtually no effort from you. It is the attachment (yoke) to him that gives rest.
It says “my yoke is easy my burden is light. Look at the word light. When Jesus said my burden is light it did not refer to the extent or weight of the burden but that Jesus burden gives us light because he exchanges our burdens for his light.
Jesus had no burdens because he had no sin! He bore our burdens to give us light and with light we can experience rest!
Yes rest might not always brings sleep but rest will give us a spiritual experience that will usher in the peace that goes beyond understanding