We’ve all had situations in our life where we see an insurmountable obstacle directly in front of our path, blocking our goal or desires and creating chaos and disharmony in our lives. For some who are more optimistic than others, they can easily view the obstacle as a blessing where the remainder of us just flop down on the dirt in defeat and have ourselves a little pity party for what could have been. Unfortunately, I tend to be in that latter camp. Oftentimes, I find myself wondering how God could ever salvage the situation and turn something horrible into a blessing.
Today, I read Matthew 11:28-30, which states, “28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Though my mind comprehended this verse to some extent as I read it, it wasn’t until I visualized an oxen with a yoke around it’s neck that it finally had an impact on me.
My visual was that of one oxen, who was trying desperately to pull the weight of the plow with all it’s might to no avail. It would stumble, fall and slowly get back up and try again with all it’s effort and all the willpower it had in its being.
It reminds me of those of us who live with addicts or anorexics who are in denial. We keep trying to do the work for them, but it doesn’t make any difference. They have to pull their own weight. There is no way, physically or emotionally, we can do it for them. Not only that, we have to pull our OWN weight. They can’t do it for us either.
When we talk with women in our office, many of them say they have been dealing with this tiresome, wearisome kind of labor or work that has been exhausting and unending for days, months, years or even decades. They feel “heavy laden” so to speak. They feel the load or burden that is expected of them is far too great to carry any longer.
The great news is that they don’t have to carry it alone. In fact, this verse tells us we are called to “rest”. We need to relax, calm and refresh ourselves. We need to pause, cease, desist or refrain from our exhausting load. We need to take a step back and regroup. Simply, we need to take a break.
Not only that, this verse tells us to take God’s yoke upon us. This is an intentional mindset for us to deliberately lift or take up the yoke (that joins TWO animals together) to combine our strength with HIS to pull the load that is oftentimes far too difficult for us to handle on our own. The yoke actually keeps us in line and in step with Him, as we combine our strength and power with His to do the work or deal with life’s situations and circumstances successfully.
This then makes our job much easier and more manageable. We actually can take pleasure and delight in the situation, as the load has become much more comfortable for us. It now has become light and easy to bear. It reminds me of the verse in Ecclesiastes 4:12, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Not only that, we couldn’t ask for anyone better to be yoked to during this trial, temptation or circumstance. For when we are weak, He is strong. We can’t try to fight against the yoke, as the work will not get done. The circumstance will not change. God requires us to PARTICIPATE in what He is doing in our lives. We have our own freewill to make wise or foolish choices that will help or hinder our progress in life.
Are you willing to allow yourself to be yoked with the Mighty Ox who will make your job easier, the load lighter and the burden a blessing adventure? Are you willing to bend your neck to the One who desires to walk alongside you through this journey of life to see you prosperous and successful? He doesn’t want to see you struggle on your own anymore, falling to your knees and struggling to get back up. He so desires to come alongside you, place His yoke around you and envelope you in His supernatural strength to face the next area you need to plow, regardless of how tough the soil may be. So, come to Him, and He will give you rest!
Kerry Schortzman is the Director of Operations at Transformed Hearts Counseling Center as well as an author and speaker. She has traveled the road of recovery alongside her husband through the wildfires of intimacy anorexia. She has a heart and passion to see healing and restoration in relationships and marriages as well as to bring public awareness to eliminate sex and human trafficking. Kerry has been married since 1998 and lives in Colorado with her husband and four daughters. She and Cory have been seen on the CBS Early Show, Inside Edition, and ABC Good Morning America, Fox 21 News, and TLC/Discovery discussing the harm of sex addiction and the joys of recovery.
Cory’s books include: Out of the Darkness, Into the Light the Workbook, Into the Light the Steps, Ashes to Beauty the Steps, 301 Dating Ideas, 301 Conversational Ideas, 301 Ways to Say I Love You, 301 Ways to Love Your Children & 301 Recovery Tools & Tips.