Word For Your Weekend - Rest - Part 3
In the summer of 2008 a dream I had for many years came true… my dad, brothers, and I climbed Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. A 16 mile round-trip, the strenuous trail culminates in pulling yourself up wire cables on the side of a granite mountain. The reward is unmatched panoramic views and a feeling of absolute victory. It was an experience that I will never forget.
The infamous cables.
But just saying “I climbed Half Dome” does not tell the whole story of what happened that day. I did not nonchalantly climb Half Dome. I gasped for air and just about passed out climbing Half Dome. I went into the experience quite self-assured, and came back humbled. I would not have finished this dayhike-of-all-dayhikes if not for my Dad.
Almost to the top.
There was a point, about 5-6 miles in, that I would’ve given up. Switchback after switchback kept coming into view, and I literally felt like I couldn’t go on. But my Dad hung back (my stalwart brothers had long left me behind), walked along with me, and encouraged me. He was patient and kind. He knew how much I wanted to accomplish this hike. He walked beside me and, eventually, he began carrying both of our backpacks, just so I could keep climbing. When I look back on that day, I am so thankful that I finished climbing Half Dome...but I am more thankful for the gift of accomplishing it with the help of my Dad.
In Matthew 11, Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you. And let Me teach you…”
The beauty of the rest Jesus provides is that He provides it during the hike, if you will. A yoke was placed on two oxen so they could carry a load together. He doesn’t tell us there will be no yoke to take up, but He promises to share one with us. And in sharing a yoke, that means we are walking side-by-side to complete the journey.
Sometimes we are like I was going into hiking Half Dome - self-assured and confident in our own ability to shoulder our burdens. We ignore Jesus’ invitation to come to Him and take His yoke. And when we do this, we miss out on the learning from Him.
When we walk beside Jesus, bringing our burdens to Him and letting Him help us carry them, He teaches us about true rest. We experience peace in the middle of turmoil, pain, and chaos, because we believe the Gospel is true. We learn from Jesus’ example of surrendering His pain and suffering over to God’s purposes and plans (1 Peter 2:21-25). We find that when our burdens are heavy and we wonder if we can take one more step, Jesus hangs back to walk with us. He gives us His yoke, we learn from Him, and we find rest for our souls.
- Does it change your perspective on this Scripture to realize that Jesus asks you to take His yoke so that He can help you carry your burdens?
- What are burdens you are trying to carry on your own?
- What are some practical ways that you can “take up His yoke” and share your burdens with Jesus this week?
Prayer… Thank You, Jesus, that You walk beside us. Thank You that You are a patient teacher, and that You are eager to share Your yoke with us. We lay our many burdens at Your feet today and we rest in the knowledge of who You are. Amen.
(c) 2018 by Hannah Kistler