Matthew 11:29 – 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. (NIV)
Have you ever had a wasp in your home and watched it struggle against a window pane trying to get out? It constantly buzzes and desperately attempts to find a means of escape. It can see the real world outside, but it doesn't understand what a glass window is. I guess the wasp must think the window is some sort of impenetrable force field that prevents it from joining the real world. Unless someone opens a window or a door to the outside world, it will keep trying to scratch, bite, or claw its way through the glass until it falls exhausted to the ground.
I've seen people in similar circumstances throughout my years of ministry. They feel trapped in their careers or marriages. They feel isolated and frustrated. They busy themselves in the belief that somehow something will happen and they will make the breakthrough into a better, more rewarding, and highly successful life. Sadly, I've seen them exhaust themselves until there was no more fight left within them. Instead of leading a normal life, their hearts turn bitter and they end up becoming lonely.
One of my seminary professors at Glasgow University once said something like, "The world is full of restless people. They are always striving to make more money, to be more successful, and to satisfy their desires. They don't realize that they are empty inside — an emptiness that can be filled only by God."
I guess this is why Jesus invites people to come to Him. He knows about our struggles with life, our wrestling with emotions, and our fighting against our feelings. He offers us rest for our restlessness, peace for our minds, and presence for our loneliness. He calls it a yoke, not a burden. Why? It's because a yoke is shared, where two can carry and pull the burden more easily. In other words, Jesus is telling us that He is willing to share our struggles and help us to carry our burdens.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we are constantly applying more stress and pressure to our lives. We are weary of wrestling against ourselves; we are spiritually exhausted with the burdens we carry. Help us to come to You to take up Your offer of sharing our troubles. Grant us rest for our souls and hope for our hearts. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.