Get a Load

Here's a fun fact: we learn most when in the midst of trials. Should that come as a surprise? Not all at. The Apostle Paul requested three times that God remove his infirmities but God responded each time, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness". Why did the Apostle petition not once but three times? My guess is that Paul was convinced that he could better serve the Lord without the pesky hindrance of his flesh. The Lord finally got His point across to which the Apostle added, "So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me". (1 Corinthians 12:9).

I found myself reluctantly asking for help when I broke my leg. And it was in my need (weakness) that God gave me a fresh look at the hearts of friends, coworkers, and neighbors who gave me rides to and from work, the doctor, the grocery store, you name it. I will forever treasure those who helped me during that time. Linda, for instance, came to pick me up for work during a snow blizzard. While waiting for me to get down two flights of stairs to open the door, she shoveled my sidewalk so that I wouldn't fall on the way to her car. I know that to her it was nothing, but now I associate her (and all friends) with their specific acts of kindness. I will never see them the same as before my times of desperation.

During that time, my backpack seemed to become part of my body. I packed that thing to the point where I could barely lift it to my back. Everywhere I went, I carried a huge load on my back and the simplest of activities became a chore. But guess what. I got used to it - at times even forgetting that it was there.... until, that is, someone insisted on removing it from my back and  carrying it for me. Like the time when Doug smiled and said nothing as he reached behind me and gently lifted it from my shoulders. It was then that I realized how heavy the thing had become!

We all walk around with loads that we're accustomed to. Our backpacks are filled with bricks of pride, self-righteousness, shame, guilt, anger, resentment, hurt, and a few rocks of doubt for good measure. Yes. the load is heavy... but we're used to it.

But what if those things were suddenly lifted? Jesus said, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." A "yoke" was a long wood piece that fit over the necks of two oxen who worked side by side. One ox was well trained in plowing fields, the other (who would otherwise go his own way) was being taught. But where the stronger one went, the other did also since they were literally connected. Jesus wants us to take His yoke and learn His ways (which are not our ways - Isaiah 55:8).

Plowing through the fields of life side by side with Jesus Christ is an experience unlike any other imaginable. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

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