Sunday, February 20, 2011

In the Yoke

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." 
                                                 Matthew 11:28-30 (NASB)
 Have you ever been weary? Not a physical, "worked hard today" type of weary but rather a soul weary. The emotional cupboards are bare, when you go to the reserve tank there's nothing there and all vitality seems to have ebbed away. It's contributing causes usually are many, and there are no quick fixes to remedy the situation.

This summer I "happened" (another one of those "God moments") to run across a book entitled, "God is More than Enough - Foundations for a Quiet Soul" by Dr. Jim Berg.  Dr. Berg was the Dean of Students at Bob Jones University while Philip and I were there and I have the utmost respect for him and confidence in his relationship with God.
The first chapter opens with the above verse which started the mental wheels turning. This verse was one that kept playing in my mind weeks before the book crossed my path, when a doctor entered my room in the ER and began to challenge me that my "religion" was what was causing the strain on my body that in turn was draining me emotionally (let's see....would a hysterectomy several weeks before have caused any strain to my body or emotional/hormonal challenges? but ....I'm no doctor! anyhow, that's another rabbit trail). My "religion" placed undue burdens on it's women (I'm guessing that he's referring to MY decision to follow Biblical guidelines on lifestyle issues) and we were to be commended for being so committed. As I said, it was a very l-o-n-g conversation that further drained my spirit. But as I was lying there I kept asking myself, "Is he right? Could he be correct that the way I've taken is hard and in the long run detrimental to my well-being?"

I lay there 1/2 listening to his concerns while this verse kept going over and over in my mind, "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" And I almost had to smile because as low as I was physically and emotionally at that time there was a peace in my heart and a burst of joy - that though I didn't understand what was going on at the time (only that I was having a severe reaction to medication), God was there - seeing and knowing all the intricacies of what was taking place. I remember telling the Dr. at the end of the conversation, after thanking him for his concern, that he would be right in his analysis IF I were serving God out of fear and IF I were working to earn His approval. But that I wasn't......the reason I'm serving God  is because I have chosen to serve Him and I've chosen to serve Him because I love Him.

I began studying the verse this summer and it became an anchor through many stormy days going through the drug withdraw. God invites those to come to Him who are weary - ( the root word literally means to take a beating) - and heavy laden (like a ship heavy with cargo). His promise is - if we fit the description and if we come to Him - "I will give you rest"

Reading the promise in context gives us a plan for obtaining this rest, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart".  I used to picture this verse as me stepping into a yoke and Christ was back on the wagon box with the reins directing the way but that isn't at all the way a yoke works. A yoke is for TWO, not one. Christ is already in the yoke and He's asking me to join Him. He never designed us to live life without Him, on our own strength, relying on our own wisdom. No, He's saying, "Enter the yoke with me. Let me show you life and all of it's components from My perspective. Let me show you, shoulder the load with you as you navigate the challenges of life." What a Savior! 

"For I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Not a driver, not a taskmaster, a fellow "yoke-bearer". There's rest in being in step, in yoke with the lover of our souls. That doesn't mean easy roads or smooth sailing but it does mean - HE'S THERE! 

"For my yoke is easy, and My burden is light". Easy simply means comfortable, pleasant, or tailor-made. His ways are not burdensome but light.  And they're light because He's in the yoke with us, teaching us, guiding us, caring for us. What a wonderful God we serve! May you, my readers, find that rest. What peace, what joy, what contentment follows when He gives us His rest! 


Regina said...

Wow, Marianne. I can't imagine what would possess a doctor to think something like that?? How could he possibly think that your beliefs would affect what was going on with your body? I've heard of a lot of clueless doctors, but I think that's a first for me.

Juwah said...

I'm so sorry. I can only imagine the additional stress the doctor's "concern" added. But you are so right, His burden is light...what a beautiful picture the shared yoke is. Thank you.

Laura said...

Thank you, Marianne, for this beautiful, restful, and encouraging post.
I think it was just this past year that I was made aware of the reality of the double yoke, where Jesus is pulling right beside us. Oh, what a Savior!
In reference to the doctor, it is a sad thing that so many unbelievers see Christianity as a burden, as anything other than true redemption from the kind of burdens that devour us. I am convinced people like that have not truly seen Him if they perceive it that way.

Liz said...

I needed to read this today. Thanks for taking the time to write part of your journey.

Mr.Wolf brought a yoke from a mission trip and showed us in choir. He reminded us that GOD would choose the yoke he had for us and it would be the right fit.