Lay Your Burden
As students at Santa Clara get caught up in studying for midterms, collaborating on group projects, and crafting up long essays, school easily becomes the center of our lives and we begin to lack one very important aspect of life: peace. Recently, that absence of peace has been stirring in my heart.
I remember one particular moment very vividly. Fall quarter was about three weeks in and I was feeling very overwhelmed adjusting to a new school for the first time. My grades on several assignments were not meeting the expectations I had for myself, my sleep schedule was extremely unhealthy, I was constantly tripping over my own shoe-laces trying to stay on top of social events and homework, and amidst it all, I was terribly homesick.
Shortly after leaving my professor’s office hours, I plopped down at a bench in front of a nearby statue trying to hold myself together. Feelings of failure and loneliness filled my head as I sat in silence, all I wanted was peace. It was in the moment that I finally looked up and I found it. There on the back of the statue were the open arms of Jesus, beckoning me into His love and His comfort. All He asked of me was to lay my burdens down and put my trust in Him.
I have noticed in my own life that peace tends to be conditional by following a system of, “if this, then peace.” If my grades are substantial, then I have peace. If I’m not overwhelmed with schoolwork, or if the relationships in my life are problem-free, then I have peace. Yet, as a Christian, what I have also learned in recent time is that true peace in my faith should not be conditional.
In my own circumstances, the moments when I’ve not had peace were because I lacked trust in those circumstances. I didn’t trust that things would work out, and because of that, I felt emptied. But in John 16, as Jesus tells his disciples that their grief will turn to joy, He says, “I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus acknowledges that in my life, I will endure hardships, I will fail, and face struggling situations, but no matter what, I am free to live in peace because Jesus, the very Prince of Peace, has overcome this world.
Peace is not the absence of hardship, but rather, trusting in God through those hardships. Therefore, if I believe in Someone who can make a blind man see, can cast out demons, turn water into wine, and be crucified on a Cross and then resurrected in three days, then that very same God is bigger than my circumstances.
Since that moment by the statue, I have been learning to put every one of my circumstances in the hands of God and trust in Him. There have been moments where I have doubted and at times felt alone, but knowing that God is with me, that He has overcome, and that He is so much greater, I could not be more at peace with my first quarter of college.
In the words of Paul, taken from Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.”