“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
“The whole idea of yoke is submission…Jesus said, ‘surrender your will to me and get under my yoke’. Jesus Christ is not where we DUMP our burdens, he is not a DUMP. We don’t dump it on Him, we surrender ourselves to Him…When we submit ourselves, He takes the weight and we begin to walk in concert with him…coming into relationship with him. If the burden is of Him (something He has allowed) he’ll leave it but take the weight of it from you, until you surrender.” Dr. Charles Stanley. (From his sermon, “Letting God Handle Your Burdens, Part 2)
2014 has been the year of a heavy yoke. Much has fallen on my shoulders and life has handed me constant burdens. If I weren’t in relationship with Christ, if I had never let the verses above saturate my very being, life could resemble a hot mess. Thankfully, I wear a robe of grace and shoes of mercy. I know better than to lean upon my own understanding, instead in ALL ways I acknowledge Him and let him direct my path. (Proverbs 3:5-6). I wait upon the Lord and am courageous, for He shall strengthen me, if I wait upon Him. (Psalm 27:14)
There is nothing else I want to do. There came a time recently where I found my health was being compromised. Did I run to the doctor? No. Did I look up my symptoms to self-diagnose? No. I prayed. I waited. I kept the Faith that God is not interested my being ill but to have life and more abundantly. The symptoms were wacky, I knew no doctor would have a solution, none that is except the Great Physician! So I took my chronic fatigue, rashes, headaches, inflamed throat, weakness…wrapped it in Hope and Glory, then left it at the cross. I asked God not only to reveal the root of all that was plaguing me – once He showed me, I surrendered it all to His will.
What the Lord revealed relates back to this entire year being one of a heavy yoke. To top it all, I found myself falling into sin by allowing my constitution to be compromised by the fears of and needs of, others. I repented, I asked for forgiveness, I acted. The one thing I knew needed to change was how I was handling the stressors in my life. I had to have it before it took me down. God didn’t want me to go down under the guise of with holding in order to preserve relationships – my first responsibility is to Him, then to me. One day the issues just hit me in the face as did resolution. From that point on I vowed to the Lord and to myself, to stop what I was doing immediately.
After listening to the podcast from Dr. Stanley a while back, it hit me that in the midst of this yoke being placed upon me, I remembered that I never asked for it! So I did what Jesus suggests and I gave it all…I SURRENDERED ALL…to Him. Upon doing so, little by little, each and every symptom went away. Some overnight, others day by day. If I start to get stressed or upset over something, I feel things coming upon me. It is as though God is sending me warning signals and YES, I listen and immediately act to recover: I recognize my sins of worry, of fear and whatever else I’m sitting in at the moment, repent, ask forgiveness (and forgive myself) and release it all to the Lord. I pray He takes mercy on me, strengthens and sharpens me, to be more cognizant of what is in my mind when these symptoms arise.
What is it I’ve had to surrender to Him you may wonder? Relationships, finances, hurt, the job I am blessed with and the pains of my body. Biggest of all, and something I actually remember to do often, I surrender my life to God, at all cost.
I remember when I learned, nearly five years ago, what it means to bear false burdens. Hearing that if I relented my life to Christ, he would not only take but also bear my burdens if only I asked, if I was willing to surrender them to Him, was the most freeing moment I’d ever experienced in my life to that point. I wept. I smiled. Joy found me for the very first time, amen! It was remarkable how hearing this good news, lifted the weight of the world from my shoulders after what seemed a lifetime of being shackled to it.
Surrender can be the catapult that leads to monumental changes in your life: mind, heart and spirit. Jesus reminds us and Peter reminds us (1 Peter 5: 7-10) to cast our cares upon Him for he cares for you, be sober be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
God may let you walk through something for a little while, but it is never without reason or cause! Fight the good fight against that which comes against you and TRUST in Him with all your might, that He shall lead you to overcome…but not without surrender!