“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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).
I was pondering this Scripture the other day. I was getting particularly stuck with verse 30: “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” If that is true, then I questioned, why is life so hard? Does it mean I am doing something wrong? Am I not trusting God enough? God wants to take the weight off us, so how can we let him do just that?
When I looked up images of yokes, I was struck by a realization. Yokes are not meant for individual beings but for two. They are connected by the yoke and thus are able to share the load together. Then I remembered Jesus carrying his cross with the help of Simon of Cyrene. As a human, even Jesus needed help. He knows what it is like to bear the weight of the world on his shoulders. He knows what it is like to feel alone. He also knew he was never truly alone.
That awareness I think is the key. God does not take the struggles of this world away, but we are never struggling alone. He is always with us, carrying more than his share of the yoke or cross we bear. Our job is to look at him and take strength in the beauty of that fellowship. He does not take away the pain of life, but he takes away the unnecessary pain of trying to carry that cross or yoke all by ourselves.
So how do we let him take that extra weight off our shoulders? The first step is acknowledging that he is with us. Where do you see God in your life? How is he supporting you? It could be financially, emotionally, socially or physically. It could even be through nature. Where do you see God? What gifts has he blessed you with to lighten the weight of that yoke?
(Jenna Ebener, a graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, is a social worker at a school in Colorado for students with a combination of medical, cognitive and behavior disabilities. She relies on God every day to aid her on this wonderful, yet intense journey.)