Devotion #83

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

When the world gives us too much to carry, we need to know where to go for rest. When the burdens are too heavy, we need to know where to find peace. When we grow exhausted from the work our marriage takes to hold it together, we need direction.

Many go to this well-known verse to find that rest. He really is the God of all comfort and He can bring peace into our lives when there is chaos. He is able and willing to meet us in times of need, even when that need is self-inflicted. He will never mock us or say, I told you so. He is just as faithful to His promises on our very worst day as He is on our best day. He knows how fickle our hearts can be, He knows how difficult it is for us to trust Him, He knows our fears and our anxieties. He knows how hard it is to lay it all down in front of Him, He knows we often choose to run away from Him rather than to Him in the chaos, and yet He still continues to move toward us with unrelenting and empowering grace through it all. He is our rest.

In these words, Jesus calls us to reject the lie the world teaches us and come to Him. The lies that tell us we are self-sufficient and we have everything we need to make it through the mess. He reminds us there will be seasons of heavy lifting in our lives; there will be times in our lives when the load will be more than we can carry on our own. There will be days we struggle to carry the burdens in our marriage, there will be times we can no longer walk through the brokenness in our relationship, there will be seasons the distance will seem insurmountable. The battle is real, the enemy is fierce, and the stakes are enormous. We will grow so heavily burdened in our marriages that only the rest Jesus offers will lift the weight, so we look to verses like this. When it’s too much to carry, Jesus says, Come to me. What a beautiful invitation.

So, we come to these verses to find that rest, and many of us do…but that rest is fleeting. It’s temporary. We find it momentarily, then we step right back into our broken relationship and the enemy is back. The tension is back, the weight is back, the burden is back. Here’s the thing we don’t get: we were never designed to carry the burdens as we’ve been carrying them. There’s more to this passage than just Come to me and find rest.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve read this verse in the past, and visually imagined yourself off-loading your burden at the feet of Jesus. I’ve always welcomed the invitation to bring my burdens to Him and lay them down—there is a momentary relief in the battle when I take the load off for a while. I find His comfort and His strength in the moment as I set the load down, I feel refreshed and renewed as I spend time with Him, but then I pick my burdens right back up and continue to carry them until I reach the point of exhaustion again. That’s what I always thought this verse was saying to us, lay your burdens down, but that’s not it at all. Here’s the truth I missed: rest is not found by giving your burdens to Jesus, rest is found by learning to carry our burdens as Jesus carries them. We are not simply supposed to be dumping our burdens at Jesus’ feet. While that may lighten our load for a short period, it doesn’t remove our burdens. We are to be carrying our burdens as Jesus carries burdens—that’s how we lighten our load. He doesn’t say lay down your burdens; He doesn’t say He will take our burdens from us. 

He does say we will find rest if we come to Him. When we bring our burdens to Him, and we tell Him we’re exhausted from carrying them, we will find His rest, His peace, His comfort, His strength. The reason the rest isn’t lasting is because we continue to carry them as we’ve always carried them. Many of us miss in this verse is the part where He says: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Take my yoke and learn from me, for my yoke is easy. He is trying to teach us how to carry our burdens. He isn’t saying Give your burdens to me, He is saying carry your burdens as I carry them and you will find rest for your souls

I don’t always carry my burdens as I should. I bring them to Him and I lay them at His feet every day, where I have been finding His rest, His strength, His comfort, but I pick them back up again and throw them up on my shoulders as I step out of my quiet time with Him. The battle is real, the enemy is fierce, and the stakes are enormous—he wants division and dissonance in our lives, he wants to destroy our marriages. If we are going to make it to the finish line, we must learn how to carry our burdens as Jesus carried them.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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