Mar 25

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Matthew 11:28-30

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”MSG

When I was 11, I found out that I had scoliosis. I ended up wearing an uncomfortable back brace through junior high and eventually had major surgery to place rods in my spine to straighten it out. Even still, I continued to experience ongoing pain in my back, shoulders, and neck through adulthood.  I have probably spent a small fortune on massage therapy, chiropractic adjustments, essential oils, and gimmicky pillows, not to mention my many days relying on ibuprofen. Something I’ve learned about my chronic pain is that, in part, it’s a physical expression of the burdens I carry in life. I’ve often prayed for healing but have yet to fully experience it.

Matthew 11:28-30 has been a life passage for me since I was in college. When I was younger, I related to these verses because I always felt weary [most Bible translations open with “Come to me, all who are weary”]. Over the last several years, God has used it to constantly speak REST over me. Recently, I was reminded of it during the 21 Days of Prayer; this time with a new and fresh revelation. I felt like God told me that these verses hold the key to the healing of my back.

At one of our worship nights during the 21 Days, I sensed the Holy Spirit telling me that I do a really good job in surrendering my life and following Jesus, but I don’t do as well in surrendering my responsibilities, relationships, emotions, or hurts. 

At the same time, a friend began to pray over me for a new, severe back pain that I’d been experiencing. As she prayed, I imagined myself doing something I used to do when I was young. I would envision putting all my cares and concerns into a small box and placing it at the foot of the cross. This time, it wasn’t just a small box.  It was a huge pile of stuff that I’d brought to the foot of the cross, all representing the different burdens that I carry. This passage came to mind at that moment.  I felt like God was showing me that I’d been trying to carry all of my burdens alone. 

I didn’t just need to come to Him when I was weary, receive His rest, and then pick everything up again. But instead, I could come to Him with my burdens, find rest, and then WALK WITH HIM as I learned how He would carry them. That’s when the real rest and the healing from my back pain would begin. 

The miracle is that in the following days, the new pain that I’d experienced was now healed! And although I still experience some chronic pain, I’m now committed to laying my burdens on Jesus and walking and learning from Him daily, instead of carrying them by myself. 


  1. Come to Jesus as you pray. Lay your burdens down. Surrender to Jesus by bringing him your weariness, your anxiety, and fears. Bring Him your relationships, your responsibilities, emotional burdens, and hurts that you’ve been carrying. Lay them at His feet. 
  2. Repent of unrest. Consider Jesus' invitation: “Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.”  Ask Him what this could mean for you today and the rest of this week.  Then, think and pray about this promise from Jesus: ”I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.” 
  3. Pray for God to heal you of recurring pain, anxiety or other things you might be experiencing because you’ve been carrying your own burdens and/or living without rest. 
  4. Ask Jesus to walk with you. Ask Jesus to help you work with Him as you learn how He will carry your burdens.  Ask Him to help you not carry them all on your own but to depend on Him moment by moment. 

Leah Gaulton 

Friends Worship & Women's Ministry Leader