Devotion #86

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

The burdens we carry seem to only magnify in recent weeks. Many of us went into this pandemic with loads that were already heavy from the weight of heartache and frustration, but the news of what is happening around the world just keeps heaping brick upon brick onto our backs. Perhaps you are managing well, but your spouse is not. Maybe you even alternate days, bouncing back and forth between stability and fear. As we watch the news, we hear one tragic story after another of how we this global crisis is impacting families and communities, and our hearts long for things to return to ‘normal’. It’s hard to get away from it. We may have already been experiencing tension in our marriages before this whole thing began, and now that we are living under this new “stay-at-home” order, and the tension has grown to overwhelming, even exploding at times. We have no escape. We are being forced to look at all the discontent and sadness, fear and anger, loss of hope and despair that exists in our hearts. It’s getting harder and harder to run away from it in these uncertain times. We are a heavily burdened people.

So we respond to the invitation to come to Him. He knows how to draw our attention to Him, doesn’t He? He knows how heavy our load is, yet He doesn’t lighten it. He could lift a few bricks if He thought that would be for our good, but He doesn’t. We know He hears our prayers, and He will answer them, yet here we are. I know many of us have prayed fervently that He end this pandemic and heal our land, so why isn’t He? Why are we still staring into a bleak future? Why do we feel our hope draining? Because He knows we will come to Him when our burden is heavy. Anyone who has carried a burden for any length of time and has looked to Jesus Christ as Savior knows the incredible freedom that happens when the weight is lifted off our backs. The problem is we don’t come to Him unless we’re our hearts are heavy with grief. If things are going well in our lives, we continue on our merry way. Sure, we include our praise for His blessings, we will often include requests for others and we may even include some prayers for our land, we try to confess and repent of our sins, but the truth is if things are going fairly well, we continue on our way. Rarely are we dropped to our knees in humble submission to His will when our load is light. Yet, here we are. Many of us on our knees, fervently praying that He heal our land.

Jesus invites us to come to Him to find rest from the weight of our burdens. He wants us know the supernatural peace we can find—in our marriages and in the chaotic world in which we live. But He’s not going to take our load from us. This verse doesn’t invite us to come to Him and He will lift our burdens…even though many of us wish it did. So many of us in fact that we pray and we pray for it to happen. What is does say is that He is trying to teach us something critically important to our spiritual well-being. He is trying to teach us how to carry our loads. Jesus doesn’t struggle with being heavily burdened because he doesn’t carry things like we do. The reality is we create so many of our burdens because of the way we choose to carry them. Jesus tells us to learn from Him: His yoke is easy because He is gentle and lowly of heart. 

Are we gentle or humble when we carry our burdens? Or do we lash out at our spouses in frustration? Far too often, when we are stressed, our emotions rise to the surface and impact the way we speak and act to those around us. And now, being trapped in a house with our spouses just seems to magnify those responses, adding additional stress to your relationship. Think about how you carry your burden as you walk through this week. When the news of our rapidly changing world sits heavily on your heart, listen to the words you choose to use toward your spouse, watch the actions you choose to take. Are you carrying your burdens as Jesus carried them? Are your responses gentle and lowly of heart? If they are, you will find His rest. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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