Sometimes the circumstances of life generate feelings that are hard to bear. Feelings of frustration, anger, fear, discontentment, envy and a host of others that can feel heavy. "How can I face another day?" "Things are never going to get better." "Will I have enough money to live in the future?" "I am done with this."
This morning I was reflecting on Hebrews chapters one and two. The end of chapter two in The New English Bible caught my attention:
17 And therefore he had to be made like these brothers of his in every way, so that he might be merciful and faithful as their high priest before God, to expiate the sins of the people. 18 For since he himself has passed through the test of suffering, he is able to help those who are meeting their test now.
Since I have been in a time of testing the last phrase "he is able to help those who are meeting their test now" jumped out at me. So I sat with that. Jesus is able to help me now.
Which lead me to think of the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 11:
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Easy? Light? What I was experiencing was anything but easy and light. Then the light bulb moment. "I am carrying burdens I am not meant to carry." The verses right before these in Matthew 11 give the solution.
28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 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.
Contemplating this made me recall days decades ago when I felt so weak, weary, and just plain burdened. During a Bible study a friend read from I Peter 5:7 in the Moffatt translation and hearing it was like balm on my soul.
"Let all your anxieties fall upon him, for his great interest is in you."
In this version it did not tell me to cast my burden. No. That would not have spoken to me at all at that point because I was too weary to cast. But to let them all fall off, fall upon someone else; well, it was in my power to just let go.
What is this easy yoke, this light burden Jesus speaks of? This is a question I have never considered. I just took the words as a fact. The yoke of Jesus is easy and light. Now I wondered, what is this yoke? Here is my answer. Jesus came to do the Father's will. Jesus is our example. Our yoke and burden is to do the will of the Father like Jesus.
I turned this thought a little and combined it with all the ideas above. We are told in beautiful words in the Sermon on the Mount that we are not to worry in this life. We are to be confident that the Father knows our needs. Jesus ends Matthew 6 with the command:
31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
So, my friends, do the will of the Father today and if you begin to worry and fret about tomorrow or feel that today is just too heavy to carry, "let all your anxieties fall upon him, for his great interest is in you.