Keep the IV in

Paul & Susan Dunk   -  

“As 2020 mercifully comes to an end, we all feel a deep fatigue or weariness spurred on by social distancing, living on top of each other in tight quarters, home schooling, fogged up glasses caused by masks, and yes, endless Zoom meetings: “Tom, you’re muted.”  All of us feel off. Tired.” ~ Tim Muehlhoff

I recently read an excellent article by Tim Muehlhoff, Professor of Communication at Biola University. I’ll be making use of some excellent excerpts, but you can read his article in its entirety here.

I first was struck by the painting used in correlation with the article; a piece by Margaret Adams Parker entitled,  “Enough”. I found my eye drawn in particular to the woman crying out in exasperation and thought, “ya, that’s about right.”

“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

~ Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30)

One of the many things this pandemic has exposed, is that it doesn’t matter what you choose to distract yourself from the weariness of the moment – it’s more anaesthetic than cure. Atheist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre once wrote  “There comes a time when one asks, even of Shakespeare, even of Beethoven, ‘Is that all there is?’” 

Solomon said it’s like chasing the wind. Augustine said the restless human heart remains so until it rests in God. Pascal said the human soul has an idea of happiness but we cannot seem to attain it. Jesus offers divine rest – even as the possibility of more lockdowns loom, but before we can be rejuvenated by His rest, we must recognize the futility of  where we’re turning to get a handful of quiet for our souls.


While the Scriptures oppose the idea of earning God’s saving grace, there are continual calls to exert effort and turn to God for His reforming, empowering grace. Christ is sufficient, which is why we have no participation in our justification. We are insufficient, which is why we are called to participate in worship and meditation, the means we’ve been given to receive His rest. The very phrase “come to me and I will give you rest” implies that the mini messiah we’re trusting in can’t. We may not deny Jesus, but we dethrone Him more often than we realize.


We’ve all experienced the frustration of coming away from a time of prayer or scripture reading and meditation and thinking to ourselves … “I feel nothing.”  As I reflect on those experiences in my own life, they didn’t make any sense at the time, but looking back on them now, they aren’t quite as mysterious. Given my default setting for life is self sufficiency, finding rest in prayer was a real shock to my operating system. It’s hard to receive divine rest in prayer when your mind is defaulting to plan the things you’re going to do after prayer – while in prayer.  If I were to summarize why the Scriptures call us to continual prayer, it would be this:

The divine rest promised by Jesus is not often experienced like getting a shot of adrenaline in your thigh, euphorically sending you off to conquer the day. It can be, but more often than not, it is like being put on an intravenous drip of grace that slowly, increasingly and inevitably gives you strength, peace, rest and resilience over the course of your life.


More often than we’d care to admit, we relate to Christ’s call,  “come to me and find rest” the way driven, restless people react when they wake up on an IV in the movies …

[Our eyes open. We see that we’ve been put on an IV]
“Oh man!? What happened??”

“You’ve suffered trauma in your soul. I don’t know how to tell you this, but your idols have been letting you down for some time and your soul is exhausted. We’ve put you on a Christ Alone IV, and it looks like your restless heart is starting to stabilize.”

“I gotta get out of here. Too much to do …”
[We rip out the IV. Obligatory “no, you need to rest” line is given. M
ontage of us busily moving on with our life. Hard cut to us collapsed.]

[Our eyes open. We see that we’ve been put on an IV]
“Oh man!? What happened??”


Our lives are shaped by formative practices and patterns. Jesus calls us to turn to Him to find rest as a way of life because He knows we are already turning somewhere for rest as a way of life. The question is never whether or not we worship or meditate, but where we’re turning when we do.  As you face the challenges that each day presents, may you be empowered to face both uncertainty and hardship by the increasing and inevitable power of His rest. Oh … and keep the IV in.

Press on,