I will not soon forget the day when my wife Brenda said to me, "You are going to be watching the baby while I go away today." She planned a day of shopping with some friends. My response was one of shock, and believe me, I tried to wiggle out of it. At that time, Jared was our only child and just a few months old. Now, don't get the wrong idea — I watched the little guy before that infamous day, but Brenda had either been in the other room or just out of earshot for an hour at most. This was for the whole day and I wasn't sure I was ready.
My greatest fear that day was the kid would die on my watch. Right up there on the anxiety meter (fittingly at No. 2) was the fear of a big nasty one — a really messy diaper. I never developed the stomach for that sort of thing. Well anyway, the morning went well and somehow we made it through mid-day. It was about 3 p.m. or so when I was to feed him and lay him down. I still vividly remember it. We were sitting in the rocking chair and I was feeding Jared, saying quietly in a hypnotic tone, "Drink it all, fall asleep, drink it all, fall asleep." It seemed to work as he gulped it down and his eyes became heavy. And then I heard that distinctive sound: the stomach noise that precedes a, well, you know. Unfortunately, this one was not going to be a regular event. As the baby let loose with power and magnitude, "it" came out like a rocket, ricocheting off the diaper and shooting up my arm all the way to my chin. For me, in many respects, that day with my son was like the beginning of daddy-hood.
What about beginning with God. If someone came up to you and said, "How do I start with God?" What would you say? How would you direct them? Maybe this is a question that you have. It could be a frustrating question for you.
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus Christ says, "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." The Lord Jesus invites all to come to him when they are ready.
What does it mean to be ready for God? In the above passage, it is hinted at that those who are ready are the ones who are weary and burdened. Life is taking it right out of them. They cannot continue on in the same way anymore. It could be the breakdown of a marriage and all the pain that comes with a family being ripped apart.
Or maybe it's the loss of income that leads to the inability to make a mortgage payment. It also could be the dark haze of depression setting in due to a myriad of reasons and leading to thoughts of suicide.
If you are worn out and continue to struggle with the strain of your circumstances, Jesus says, "Come to me."
Brokenness is the key. Brokenness is realizing that we can't do it on our own. It is articulating plainly, "I need help." It is coming to the conclusion, "My way is not working and I need a new way." Turning to the Lord brings rest and a different way to walk in this life.
Many times terrible circumstances bring people to the point of brokenness and they are ready to reach out for God's help. But brokenness can also be arrived at intellectually by realizing the fragility of life and the need for the Almighty.
Are you ready to begin with God? Simply call out to him and he will meet you where you are. Maybe you need to "begin again" with God. If so, I encourage you to bring your burdens to him.
Imagine what would happen if you started anew with God. It would change your life and those around you. Peace would flood in and you would find true rest.
Norm Byers is the lead pastor of Genesis Church, with two locations meeting Sundays at 9:30 a.m. at the Petoskey Middle School and 11 a.m. at Boyne City Elementary. Learn more at www.genesiswired.com or Twitter @normbyers.