"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

"Whatever you shall ask the Father in My name, He will give you." John 16:23

A gracious promise and a gracious welcome from the loving Rest-Giver. Wide is the range of blessing here given--"Whatever you ask." One condition alone is made, and which is thus elsewhere expressed--"If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us" (1 John 5:14). Surely the Inviter's own words are a pledge that all will be given that is really for our good; and all will as assuredly be withheld which would be detrimental to our best and truest well-being.

The unique prayer of Jabez, though one of the most ancient in inspired story, has, in its expressed limitations, a significance and beauty which make it the property of no one dispensation, but of the Church and the believer in every age--"And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested" (1 Chron. 4:10). The God of the old pilgrim-father is ever and alone the judge of what are "blessings indeed"--blessings not counterfeit but real. At times to us this is difficult to believe. The promise of our verse today seems to our short-sightedness and unwisdom often strangely belied. The gates of the Hospice-sanctuary appear barred, and our purposes thwarted. The evils we dread and deprecate overtake us; the blessings we fondly invoke and implore are denied. Let us hush all misgivings; let us check all misconstruction of the divine will and wisdom by accepting the righteous ordinations of that Will, remembering from whom these answers come. "Whatever you shall ask the Father." "Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in Your sight."

A further guarantee the verse supplies is the divine Medium, through which alike our prayers are offered and the Father's will is conveyed--"In My name." It is the name that is above every name--the name of "the Wonderful Counselor," the divine Brother-Man, the King of heavenly hosts, yet the King of earthly pilgrims. "The name of the Lord is a strong tower [a Hospice]; the righteous runs into it, and is safe." Him the Father hears always. In the prophetic words of the psalm, "You have given Him His heart's desire, and have not withheld the request of His lips." He is the true "Arbitrator between us, who lays His hand upon us both." He is the true Antitype in that double Rephidim picture--Moses on the mount and Joshua in the plain, pleading for us and fighting for us; only, unlike the type, there is no suspension in His intercession, His hand never "growing weary." He is the true Covenant Angel with the "much incense" of His adorable merits.

There seems, at first sight, contradiction in an immediately subsequent verse of this same valedictory chapter. "You shall ask," says He, "in My name--and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me" (verses 26, 27). But it only lends intensity and emphasis to the Speaker's previous statement. It is as much as to say, "Though I be your ever-living, ever-loving Intercessor, the Prince who has power with God and must prevail, in another sense I need be no such Intermediary, I need to exercise no such intervention. Simply asking blessings through Me will be a passport to the Father's heart. You have only in your pleadings to name My name. It will be enough. Your love for Me will be sufficient to secure His love to you. Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full."

O blessed shelter and pausing-place for the climbers of every Hill Difficulty! There is no rest for the weary equal to that secured by prayer. In the very act of devotion there is a sense of calmness and peace. A writer (Wells) happily illustrates this in citing the classic story of Orestes fleeing to the temple of Apollo, the god of light. Safe and inviolable in the sacred shrine, his fears and agitations are lulled as he lies prostrate in devotion before the altar. A beautiful and truthful picture of the believer on his knees at the mercy-seat, looking up in silence and trustfulness to the Father of Lights, with whom is no darkness at all! In that hour of quietness and confidence he gets strength. The apostle seems in the same way to carve an appropriate motto above the door of this gracious Hospice, this refuge of peace, when he says, "In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

"This is the resting place, let the weary rest. This is the place of repose." Isaiah 28:12

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