Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]
Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. –Matthew 11:28-29
“Come to me.”
I’ve been hearing those words a lot lately, in a variety of different ways: A blog post, a song, in a verse I’ve heard 793 times before. They all repeated them to me, with grace washing over my soul each time. Come to me, come to me, come to me. It’s almost silly how much they’ve been coming up, how many times they’ve been murmured in my ear as of late; it’s not silly, though, because I imagine they wouldn’t have to be said so often, with rising urgency, if I was coming. What I’m afraid must have been happening is that I was standing rooted, head hung. I must have been looking right and left, casting my eyes on anything but the path that led to the throne of God; I must have been going to other sources for infilling, and when I didn’t find it, I still did not come. And so, louder and louder, He called to me: “Come.”
I have an abundant life. I mean that in the way that induces warm fuzzies–I have people who love me with real, true love that comes from Love so that it covers a multitude of sin, even when I break their hearts or they find out I have, in fact, picked my nose while driving. That makes for a full life, through and through. And I mean that in the way that causes my heart to jump over beats, because it’s so ridiculous–I have never, ever wanted for breakfast or blankets or even a toothbrush. That’s an impossibly full life. I’d argue, though, that it’s the fullness of this life that sometimes keeps me from coming. In the face of so many blessings, I forget they’ve been bestowed upon me like raindrops, that they’re meant to draw my attention to the Blesser, that they’re merely the smallest indicators of what Perfect Love smells like. And this is why the call still stands, why it beckons louder than the blessings, why they are not enough.
I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). –John 10:10
See, an abundant life, while full of splendor, falls short. An abundant life, while abundant, cannot bring you to overflow. An abundant life, when only that, will leave the canyon of your soul growing to consume it so that you require more abundance to remain filled. And so we are invited, drawn, wooed–“Come to me”–so that we may experience life abundant. It is that–life to the full, life that cannot be any more, life that bubbles over with enough extra so that people can reach out and take some and then find that they want it for themselves–that is offered at the foot of the Cross. It is for that reason that despite all we’ve been given, He does not stop there. It is for that reason that He continues to whisper our names or write them across the sky or put them on the hearts of others until we glance His way. It is for life abundant, for freedom, peace, joy, for the grace that makes us perfect and compels to be transformed at the same time. It is for life abundant, the closest thing we can get to being with Him, this world removed from us. It is because when we dwell in life abundant, we leak and shine and scream God’s glory.
And yet–I hesitate. I hear the voice, He who regards me with more affection than I can imagine, and I stand still, eyes darting. He says, “Come,” and I shake my head. He reaches out his hand, and I dodge His touch, even in the same moment that I long for it. I offer my life and take it back, calling my own the things that belong to Him. I know the sweetness of allowing my surrender to beget more and more of Him, but I pause.
No matter, it remains: “Come to me.” And again and again, I am taken back. He takes what I lay down, and gently removes what I won’t, and I receive life–and life to the full.
“You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” said the Lion. –C.S Lewis