Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (NIV)
Matthew 11:28-30 – 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. (NIV)
We once had a Sheltie, named Tammy, whose timidity kept her from enjoying life outside the safety of our home. Our solution to this problem was to yoke her with a young puppy named Pepper, whose gregarious nature was infectious. At first, Tammy fought the splitter leash that bound them together when we went for our daily walk, but Pepper's strength and encouragement, as he nudged her along, soon began to make a huge difference. In fact, in a lot less time than I had thought possible, Tammy began to overcome her fears as she learned to greet and be petted by strangers, move quietly and confidently by noisy vehicles, and wait patiently outside the post office while I retrieved the mail.
Perhaps some readers, too, suffer from timidity. I know that from time to time, I certainly do, especially when I am in a group situation, travelling, or learning a new skill. Too often, instead of being able to enjoy and appreciate these opportunities, I am burdened and wearied in body and soul by insecurity and fear of the unknown, until the One I am yoked with gently nudges me with encouragement and truth.
Today, some of us may need a little nudging — a little nudging from Jesus, with whom all Christians are yoked for eternity. If so, we should go back and reread today's Scripture verses, and then claim them. God is with us. Jesus is calling us to come to Him and receive all that we need for whatever it is we are facing. Strength, courage, peace, companionship, and guidance are ours for the asking if only we will exercise faith to believe and receive.
Tammy's life was transformed when she became yoked with Pepper. Ours can be, too, at any moment, during any day, when, as Christians, we simply take the time to remember Who walks beside us and claim the gifts of power He has to offer.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of being yoked with Christ. Thank You that in Him, we have everything we need to face every area of life. We love You and praise You that amidst our forgetfulness You are ever ready to nudge us back toward the truth of Your transforming word. Bless us this day with faith to believe and to receive. In Christ's name, we ask. Amen.