Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
I left rose petals from the walkway to the front door of our apartment. That is what my husband found as he came home from work. I wanted each rose petal to lead him home where he was loved and could find rest and a safe place. Maya Angelou said, “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”
Men are finding themselves more exhausted than ever. Exhausted from the pressures of life, exhausted from fleeing sin, exhausted from demanding priorities, exhausted from not being enough. Their inner struggles are making them question their faith in Christ Jesus.
Women often miss how critical it is for a man to find rest. Not the rest that comes from a vacation or a space designed just for them in their home, but the rest that only comes from God.
Though my husband never complained, I knew that being a godly husband, father, provider, leader with a church title, and a spiritual leader for his family was exhausting.
Our premarital curriculum did not include any teaching about “rest”, but if it had, I am sure it would have been the story in the book of Judges about Samson and Delilah.
Marriage has a way of exposing our brokenness and revealing the “laps” where our addictions lie. Wives struggle to find answers on how to help their husbands when their marriages become a place of unrest.
Jesus doesn’t say, “Come to me happy, loving life, and looking like an Instagram photo”. It is when we abandon ourselves to Jesus with honesty about being “weary and burdened” that He will give us rest.
Earlier this year at our leadership church conference, Bishop Jakes talked about the challenges of marriage and how Samson found rest in Delilah’s lap. When I met my husband, he said that God answered his prayers when he found me. I surely was not the perfect wife but understood what he meant when He said he had considered settling for dating a woman who was known to be a “lap holder”.
In his book, Is There a Samson in You?: An Honest Look into the Mirror of Male Bondage, H. Ronald Roseboro writes: Samson voluntarily snatched back his heart from God and gave it to the strange woman named Delilah. He also shunned Israelite women because they were pure hearted and would have exposed his inner issues rather than just ignoring them…We are often drawn to modern day Delilah’s because they are women without principles, integrity, purity, and righteousness. A Delilah will always help a Samson remain in a state of immaturity and rebellion against God, while fulfilling the desires of his flesh rather than his spirit…In spite of Delilah’s pressure on Samson to reveal his strength in order to be captured, he still found a place of peace in her lap…Regardless of repeated death threats and the presence of impending danger that loomed upon the head of Samson, Delilah’s lap seemed to have offered many benefits. In Delilah’s lap Samson found rest, peace, celebration, appreciation, nurturing, heart talk, passion, admiration, validation, and love.
After the church conference, I have often thought about how single men need rest too. Whether they desire marriage or not, they need to consider the Delilah’s they run to for rest instead of running to God.
Some years ago, a Pastor asked me to teach an additional session for single men at a singles conference. Many of them I knew because I taught monthly the singles ministry at their church. But never in my experience of teaching had I taught a class entirely of single men.
Fervently, I sought God’s guidance and prayed for every man that would be in attendance. Driving to the conference, I heard God whisper to me that He would turn their restless hearts to Him. But what God told me to do was frightening and totally out of my comfort zone. Stopping at several stores on the way to the conference, I purchased as many white plastic basins as I could find.
When it was time for the session to begin, I felt God’s presence with me as we discussed the weight of being a godly man in an ungodly world, the weight of running to and from sexual temptation, the weight of an identity-driven culture, the weight of dating women who were restless for marriage. Their hearts were heavy from laying in laps disguised as rest only to find themselves further away from the relationship that mattered the most.
Psalm 62:1 says: My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress; I will never be shaken.
Pouring water in the white plastic basins, I began to wash their feet repeating Romans 8:1: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
The tears in their eyes was a sign that their “hair was growing back”. They found hope again because of their relationship with Christ Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Are you pointing the man in your life to the rest that only Jesus can give or has your lap become his resting place? Men will never mature to be godly men if they are finding their rest in us. Jesus wants us all to experience the beauty of resting in Him. When we surrender to His invitation to “come” our weary and thirsty hearts will find rest.
Prayer: Jesus you took time to rest in God and encouraged others to surrender to His invitation of rest too. Help us not miss the opportunity of pointing the man in our lives to your invitation of rest. I pray that we will not ignore your offer of rest for ourselves by finding a “lap” not designed for that purpose. We need your rest now more than ever. In Jesus Name. Amen.