The past two days I have run 3 miles around a small island where my husband, daughter and I are spending a couple of nights retreating/relaxing/refilling/refreshing. I feel like I took a trip back in time. Once you cross the bridge onto the island everything gets small. There are tiny cottage like houses tiny shops and storefronts. Tiny restaurants, tiny streets, and even tiny cars(some of the residents use fancy, souped up golf carts as their island cars). As I jogged around the island, just basking in the beauty and uniqueness(my husband really wants me to use the word fantastical here so..there you go Jonny:) of it, I saw many different groups of people. There were parents with small children digging in the sand, elderly shuffling with their walkers, lovers walking hand in hand, people walking their pets and pets walking their people. One thing I saw in common with each of these groups of people is that everyone looks happy. There were smiles aplenty and happy voices. It was about three quarters of the way around the island that I started to think about how much it was standing out to me that these people were calm and happy. This is a tourist spot and people coming here are all doing something similar to what my family is doing. We are all getting away and as a result we are relaxing and are happy. Now I've started thinking why I don't see this more often. Why are these people so smiley here, on vacation, but when I think about going to the park near my house, or my gas station, or the grocery store do I remember more stern looking people with creased brows and weary looking faces?
I started thinking about these verses that I grew up hearing:
Matthew 11:28-30 says
"28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
This is an interesting statement. As I'm sitting here reading this I can't help thinking it sounds strange. If you are worn down by heavy burdens then come to Jesus because He wants to give you His yoke. I find myself thinking "Wait a second. Doesn't that sound like it's saying to come if you are burdened down by things and I'm going to give you something else to burden you with but it is supposed to make things better?" Well since I know and believe in the inerrancy of scripture I thought I should look up what this actually means since I seem to be tripping over it at the moment.
My mother in-law just recently told me about the Amplified Bible translation. Basically it takes a translated bible and where, say a NIV version of the bible would say one word like "Blessed" then the Amplified Bible will give you all of the actual words that the original Greek or Hebrew word meant, like "fortunate, happy and to be envied." This bible gives me something I've been looking for a long time. I know that there are words in our language that other languages don't have words for, so we end up giving three or four additional words to describe what we mean. Thats what this translation does.
So, back to the verses in Matthew, now in the Amplified Bible translation
"28Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] 29Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. 30For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good--not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne."
YA! Now you're talking! Learn of Him and I will find relief, ease, refreshment, recreation and a blessed quiet life. I will find rest. In order to have more rest in my life I need to know more of Him. This is why each time I dig into the bible and spend time alone with God I walk away feeling refreshed. Now why don't I do it more often? Imagine if we all did..then we could have this smiley, vacation-y feeling at home.
Just thought I would share what I just learned, just in case anyone else thought it was cool. :)