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  • Shawn Thornton

The Rest Area That Wasn't

Tuesday - April 21st

Today's Scripture to Read: Matthew 11:28-30

After I graduated from college my alma mater, Appalachian Bible College, hired me to travel as an Admissions Representative for the school for one year. I spoke in churches, youth groups, camps, and Christian schools. I visited college fairs in the majority of the 55 counties of the State of West Virginia. Others arranged my schedule, and they focused on where the opportunities were rather than on what was most convenient for me.  

My travels kept me east of the Mississippi but had me crisscrossing states again and again - especially Ohio. Some of my drives between speaking engagements took me half a day or more. I spent way too much time on the Ohio Turnpike and the Pennsylvania Turnpike that year. There were a few times on those turnpikes that I needed to pull off the road at a Rest Area and get some solid rest. Often, however, there was little rest at the Rest Area.

I remember one particular time when my travels took me from Lima, OH to Greensburg, PA. I stopped at a Rest Area somewhere near Cleveland. It was evening, and the sun had set. I pulled into the Rest Area, found a lighted area, parked the car, and leaned the seat back as far as possible so that I could sleep. I planned to nap for about one hour.


About five minutes after falling asleep, a car full of loud children and a fussy baby pulled up right next to me. It took about twenty minutes for the noisy family to move along. After falling asleep for a few more minutes, I was again awakened by (of all things) a motorcycle gang that rolled into the Rest Area. After a barking dog, another noisy family, and some loud-talking truck drivers all disturbed my attempt to sleep, I decided to get back on the Turnpike and drive to my hotel near Greensburg.

That was a Rest Area that wasn't a place to rest at all. It couldn't live up to its name.

Jesus lived a life that welcomed all with open arms. Many who had fought to be noticed by others or sought to gain help from religious leaders discovered Jesus to be a person of solace and protection. This was not merely the disposition of His life; this was the proactive invitation that He extends to all who are tired, worn out, or long to be renewed. Unlike that Ohio Turnpike Rest Area where I could not get rest, Jesus fulfills His promise to provide us rest.

How about you? Are you worn out? Are you tired? Do you need some rest?

In Matthew 11:29, Jesus promised that if we look to Him for help, He will make sure we find rest for our souls. Take your weariness, take your frustration, take your concern for others to the Lord in prayer. Remember, He will give you rest. Keep taking the same need to the Lord over and over again. Keep leaning into Him for your strength and purpose for each new day. He can handle whatever you throw at Him. 

Take some time today to communicate prayerfully to the Lord your frustrations, burdens, and most profound concerns. He invites you to do that. Do that and see what God does to grow you in Jesus. He will never let you down as you lean into Him!

There is no burden in our lives that our Savior cannot handle - Trust Him!

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