Saturday, March 21, 2009


“Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

ave you ever heard one or two, or perhaps a flock of geese flying overhead, their voices calling back and forth to each other, offering direction, instruction, or perhaps encouragement? As the seasons pass, they take to the currents above the earth, soaring high above the clouds, for their instinct knows when it is time to move on, either from the approaching cold of winter, or back to their nesting grounds and the bounties of summer. Their courses rarely change, their flight pattern wonderfully engrained in their very being. When I hear their voices, I, too, am encouraged and given direction, for I know their arrival or departure means that a season is not far behind them.

One cold spring day, I heard the distant approach of these heralds of the seasons and decided to make a closer inspection of them. Driving down to the lake bed where they were congregating, I was at first awestruck by their vast numbers. The geese seemed to cover the ground in an ever-moving ocean of gray, their heads bobbing and their voices filling the air with constant honking. I watched with amazement as they stepped aside to
make room for the other geese that seemed to pour from the sky in an endless wave, sounding their calls of encouragement until the last goose fell gracefully among them. I marveled at how far they must have traveled and how grateful they must have been to at last be where their weary wings had carried them.

But as I sat and watched this amazing display of God’s creation, I soon tired of the incessant repetition of their honking voices that filled the air. Closing my eyes and letting my imagination run, I laughed at how the geese sounded like a huge crowd of people, each trying to talk over the top of another and none able to make out a distinguishable word. It was as if they were trying to make their voices heard over the tumult and confusion they found themselves in. Perhaps they had stories to tell; tales of the storms they passed through in their flight, of narrowly escaping the predator’s jaws or a hunter’s gun. Maybe they had been separated from their mates and were calling to each other with words only they understood. Whatever the case, their excitement was solely their own and I couldn’t be a participant in it, only an observer sitting at a safe distance.

Then, as sudden as was their raucous approach, their voices receded to murmurs and faint chirps as each bird settled their bodies onto the warm sandy lake bed. Opening my eyes, I looked out over the sea of geese, noticing an occasional head popping up above the blanket of gray; a sentry with a wary eye keeping watch over the vast gaggle of birds. Their sudden stillness was almost as deafening as was their overwhelming chatter
and excitement, as if a voice, unheard by my human ears, had soothed and calmed them into a well-deserved rest. The same voice that led them away from one season had called them home to another; a voice they were intimately familiar with, a voice they could trust and had faith in to watch over them as they briefly closed their eyes under the warmth of the sun overhead and took their well-earned respite.

I slowly drove away from the lake bed, hoping my departure didn’t disturb the geese. But as I drove the short distance home, I began to contemplate the wonder I had just seen and heard. Thinking upon the sound of that many geese in one place and the droning roar of it reminded me of the cacophony and tumultuous rush of the world and how it overwhelms us. Our nerves are exposed and made raw by the pace that’s demanded of us, the world’s offending noise chasing us even in our sleep. To the majority of humankind, one season blends into another with harsh growls, making one indistinguishable from another. We work, toil, and play, idling through the seasons, making our own sets of rules, and establishing our own boundaries of life. We pile one burden upon another, “yoking” ourselves with debt, dismay, and despair, choosing to ignore the voice that gently calls out promising rest and release from the things our hands have made.

Unlike the geese that follow their Master’s voice, man allows the voices of the world to lead him away into an unfamiliar wilderness where no rest can be found. At first glimpse, the grass may seem greener on the other side; but disappointment and heartbreak are sure to be found there. However, within that wilderness a voice is heard calling you to come and rest on His “lake bed”, to release your burdens of “flight” onto Him, and to close your eyes for a much-needed rest while He stands sentry over you. Jesus Christ’s rest is perfection, a promise of not only present rest, but also rest from our past mistakes as He frees us from the burden of sin. And when our “flight” is over, when we rest our weary wings that the breath of His Word has carried us through our lives, He promises future rest, eternal joy, and peace forevermore.

“Come unto Me…and I will give you rest.” The geese and I heard His voice that day.

Copyright 2006 Karen L. Brahs

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