If you grew up in the Baptist Church as I did, the hymn Softly and Tenderly was sung often. The hymn was written by Will L. Thompson in 1880. The familiar chorus reads: “Come home, come home, Ye who are weary come home. Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling, Calling, “O sinner come home” The lyrics invite us to come home to God, especially those who are weary.
Weary. This is a word I have heard a lot lately and have experienced myself. After many weeks of dealing with the COVID-19 virus, if you are like me you are tired and weary and ready to come home. For me, home is how life looked before the virus threw everything into disarray. The dictionary defines weary as feeling or showing tiredness. Perhaps we identify with the words of William Shakespeare, “O God, O God, how weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!” Indeed, in our world, it is easy to find ourselves sinking into despair.
Yet, it is for the tired and weary that God sent Jesus to the world to bring home. We remember Jesus’ words from Matthew’s Gospel: “Come to me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Rest. God is not talking about a 15-minute power nap which I sometimes take, but rather the rest that God gives to us is one of renewal and refreshment. That is, in our weariness, God brings new life to every situation that causes us to be weary. When we feel like giving up, this is when God steps in to renew us with His life-giving presence. The great Trappist monk and spiritual writer Thomas Merton said, “By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.”
When we enter into the rest that God gives us, not only is our present renewed, but our future focus becomes one of life and abundant life. In God’s rest, we who are weary can come home. In Psalm 68:6 we read, “God gives the desolate a home to live in.” If you are like me, this pandemic journey is leaving me weary at times. However, let each of us remember that God is softly and tenderly calling us home. A home where weary souls are renewed, broken spirits healed, and empty hearts filled with divine love.