A Prayer to Dive into True Rest
By Christopher Eyte
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11: 28 – 30
I stood at the top of the diving platform, jutting out from the side of the small ship, and looked out across the wide tranquil expanse of the Mediterranean Sea. Then I studied the frothing blue abyss below and deliberately inhaled a sharp intake of air. My feet pushed out and launched my body upwards, creating an awkward arch in the azure sky before the weight of gravity pulled me down to the waters, and I fell through the mellow waves, dropping like a heavy stone as I disappeared into the depths. My breath was knocked out as I plummeted into the deep. A cold rush streamed across, and I sensed a freezing darkness. I was floating alone, far below the surface of the waves.
It was very exhilarating, and I quickly felt insignificant and lonely in this sublime marine underworld. I didn’t know what surrounded me. I felt a strange sense of vulnerability and exposure. My lungs started to throb in need of oxygen, and I began kicking my feet furiously, pulling myself upwards towards the light in clumsy maneuvers. The swim to safety seemed endless until I broke the surface and gulped fresh air. The ship was still there, and I crawled slowly until I reached a metal ladder to get back on board.
A year later, I stood in a large basin inside a church building in a city in the north of England. Two men – older than me, full of love and wisdom – stood at my side. I proclaimed my identity in Jesus Christ publicly. Then hands gently laid hold of me to plunge me into a pool of water. I wanted to stay under that water forever. It wasn’t the physical liquid that absorbed me but the sense of closeness to Christ. It was a different feeling than my dive off the ship into the deep Mediterranean. That time I felt exhilarated but then quickly afraid and alone. This time, in these baptism waters, I felt at home. I was pulled out of the waters with a smile on my face and a crowd cheering in celebration. I am not alone. When I was in the sea, I had to push to the surface by myself. In the baptism, the hands of godly men held my arms and helped me.
Do you have memories of moments in your life that stand out like that? When you experienced how different the closeness of God feels compared to times when you’ve felt alone? There have been many hills to climb and valleys to get through since my baptism. I have limped rather than run the race. The promise of Jesus stands firm. Come to him if you feel weary. Come to him however you feel. Come and rest. He wants us to do this with our lives: to rest in Him every day and open the door for others to rest in him too. Remember his words in John 6:37:
“I will never turn away anyone who comes to me.”
Life-changing words, which still hold true. I encourage you to spend time reflecting upon this beautiful invitation from God: “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you without money, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost! Why spend money on that which is not bread, and your labor on that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of foods.” (Isaiah 55: 1 -2)
Father of all compassion. You have known me since before I was born. Thank you for being with me in every moment of my life, and I am your child. Help me to order my memories and put them where they belong—forgetting the unhelpful moments of the past and straining for the joy ahead—recollecting times of closeness to you. More than anything, when I said publicly, that moment of baptism, I belong to you. Today, I commit my life to you again and, in your precious name, the service of others. Amen.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes
Christopher Eyte lives with his wife Céline and three children in Swansea, Wales, UK. He has worked as a journalist for many years and writes his own blog (hislovefrees.life) encouraging others in their walk with Jesus. He became a Christian in February 2002, after a friend explained God’s amazing grace!
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