Religion is tough – a list of rules and rituals we must follow to be pleasing to God. If we only do enough things right then maybe God will be pleased with us. Religion is grueling work and there is no way to measure if you have done enough to please God.
A relationship is different. God doesn't say do these things and I will be pleased with you. No He says, I created you and love you. Have faith in my Son's sacrifice for your sins and your sins are washed away. God will judge sin, but God longs for everyone to repent.
The difference between man-made religion and a relationship with God is mentioned in Isaiah 46:1b-4. It says:
…their idols are borne by beasts of burden. The images that are carried about are burdensome,
a burden for the weary. They stoop and bow down together; unable to rescue the burden, they themselves go off into captivity. “Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
Idols and rules are burdensome. They weigh down the weary. In a relationship with God He carries us, sustains us. Isn't it good to know in light of the difficult things all around us God carries us and sustains us.
In fact Isaiah says God carries us from birth to death. He sustains us and He rescues us. We don't have a list of things to do. Instead we have a God who carries, sustains, and rescues us. Even in the midst of evil and unspeakable loss, God is there carrying, sustaining, and rescuing.
Father God help us to remember we do not have to be burdened because your yoke is easy and your burden is light. Thank You for carrying, sustaining, and rescuing us even when we don't understand Your ways. In Jesus' Name, Amen.