Yesterday, my wife and I had visitors over, and my newborn son started crying — probably because he was tired and needed to go to sleep. We tried to play it cool while attempting to calm him down. We even gave our visitors a shot at soothing him, but none of it worked. He kept on crying, so I finally left the room and went upstairs to console him. It took 30 minutes, and it required a lot of creativity.
We have this litany of tactics to get the baby to stop crying and go to sleep. They include shushing him to the tune of “Jingle Bells,” checking his diaper, moving his legs around to make him pass gas, swinging him back and forth, swaying him, swaddling him, singing to him, nursing him, and burping him, to name a few. Sometimes none of this stuff works, but we don’t give up.
We strategize, share the little trick that worked last time, and hope to heaven that we’ll eventually unlock the secret to his instant serenity. We still haven’t succeeded at that, so we just keep loving him the best we know how through all the shushing, swaying, swaddling, and singing we can do.
It reminds me so much of the frustration that often comes with living the Christian life.
We want a formula. We want the magical combination of Bible reading, prayer, and church involvement that will help us grow in our relationship with the Lord. We want the thing that will finally bring us to the point of spiritual maturity, that will make us less vulnerable and end our spiritual crankiness.
But Jesus simply responds, “Come to Me, all 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).
To our disappointment, He doesn’t offer a method. Instead, He persistently offers Himself, and that is more than enough.