RESTING & RUNNING

Do you ever feel scared of what God is calling you to?

Sometimes I worry that what God may ask me to do will be too much for me to handle. I worry not only about my inadequacy, but about the sacrifice it may require or the toll it may take.


Read the beautiful words of Matthew 11:28-30 in The Message translation:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

You may be more familiar with this version (NIV):

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

I don’t know about you, but I find so much comfort in this passage. Knowing that I can safely rest in God, whose burden is light, is a beautiful thought.


But recently I was confused. In the above passage it says that I should rest in Him. But then I read in Hebrews 12:1-3 that I must run and not grow tired:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.

I was confused because these two passages seem to be in contradiction to each other. Are we meant to run, step out of our comfort zone, and selflessly sacrifice for the Kingdom? Or are we meant to rest and hideaway in Him? Or can we rest while running?


The answer is that we can simultaneously rest and run in Him if we rely on His strength and not our own. The verses above say we can "run with endurance" by "keeping our eyes on Jesus" remembering what He suffered and overcame.


Jesus never leaves our side. He is our “initiator and perfector”. He doesn’t just kick-start us on a path only to abandon us to find our own way. He is always with us. One of His names is Immanuel which means ‘God with us’. He’s not just sometimes with us. He’s not just with us at the start of our faith or at the start of a new project. He’s always with us.


So, I ask again: do you ever feel scared of what God is calling you to?


There’s no need because we’re not doing it on our own. What would normally be too much for us to handle is not even a small hurdle for God. Therefore we can rest while working hard knowing we have security and hope in Him. I love these words from above: “I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.” He knows our limits and He never places a task on us that He won’t help us with.


We see in 1 John 5:3 that God’s commands are not burdensome. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t take sacrifice to keep them. But when we truly love God, it’s a joy to make those sacrifices and to follow His calling. Running with endurance is a joy. The permanent joy outweighs the temporary struggles we may face.


And this is how these two seemingly contrasting thoughts can work in harmony. In fact, they can only work when in harmony. You can’t run if you’re not resting in Him.


Here are some great verses to leave you with:


  • Joshua 1:9

  • Hebrews 10:35-36

  • 1 Corinthians 2:9

  • Romans 8:31-39

  • Lamentations 3:22-23

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© Shelley Ward