One of the poems of George Herbert, “The Pulley”:
When God at first made Man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by–
Let us (said He) pour on him all we can;
Let the world’s riches, which dispersed lie,
Contract into a span.
So strength at first made a way,
Then beauty flow’d, then wisdom, honor, pleasure:
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all His treasure,
Rest in the bottom lay.
For if I should (said He)
Bestow this jewel also on My creature,
He would adore My gifts instead of Me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature:
So both should losers be.
Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness;
Let him be rich and weary, then at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to My breast.
I like the idea–that God, having given freely so many blessings, left rest alone in the bottom of the glass that we might come to him for it. Is it true?
Weariness is a real and binding thing. It coats our arms and legs and minds with thick sticky goo that pulls us down and clouds our sight. Sometimes we are working too hard. Then we sit down (if we do sit down) and we cannot move our heavy, heavy bones. We should get up, we think, and the Things to Do fight for prominence in our guilty minds. But we do not get up because suddenly apathy has descended on us. All of the things for which we have been striving fade into paleness and we do not care about anything.
Sometimes we have trodden step by step through a long season of change and emotional upheaval. Perhaps we don’t realize that the numbness is fatigue. Once again life as we knew it has been demolished and we must rebuild it, detail by detail, working with the unfamiliar.
Sometimes we are vaguely down, we don’t know why. There’s always a list of little wrongs that grows longer as we read it but all the while we know none of it is what really burdens us. We lay down in bed at night and feel ourselves falling far down into the dark and nightly we resolve not to climb out again in the morning. But when morning comes, somehow we must.
And Jesus, sweet Jesus. Jesus meek and Jesus mild, says to us, “Come weary, heavy-laden, burdened, down and stumbling under. Striving, driving, failing, falling, come.”
Or as another poet has it:
I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down Thy head upon My breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad.
–Horatius Bonar of Scotland, 1846