Tough Sledding

Matthew 11:28
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy
burdens, and I will give you rest” (v.28).

While we were on vacation in Alaska, our
family visited the kennels that house Denali’s
sled dogs. There we got to observe and learn
about these amazing animals that help park rangers
patrol the vast wilderness of Mount McKinley National
Park during the long, harsh winter months.

One of the intriguing things we discovered about sled
dogs is their incredible stamina. Patrols using the tireless
canines can last up to 6 weeks—and the dogs are more
than up for it. Alaskan Huskies live to run and pull.
The only problem is that they don’t know when to stop.
Rangers have to make them stop and rest. Otherwise,
they’d simply run themselves to death.

Maybe it’s my love for dogs, but I saw a parallel to
my life that was striking. I too love to “run” and “pull”
my own weight. I’m the kind of person who is typically
on the go and has trouble slowing down and resting. In
fact, my family understandably gets after me when I wolf
down (pun intended) a meal standing up.

A sled dog’s need for rest resonates with the words of
David in Psalm 23: “The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all
that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads
me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength”
(vv.1-3). This is a wonderful description of God’s loving
care for us. Too often, however, I am running so hard
that He can’t restore my weary heart. It’s why I need a
wise and loving Shepherd who says, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary”
(Matthew 11:28).

God meant for us to work and to pull our own weight (Genesis 2:15). But He
also knows we need rest or we will run ourselves ragged.
Jesus, may we learn to respond to Your call to rest. —Jeff Olson

Read Psalms 62:1 to learn how we should rest in God and wait for Him
to work in our difficult situations.

How are you seeking God’s restoration for your soul? What will
you do this week to experience His peace and presence?