Saturday, May 29, 2021

Finding Rest


When we fear, when we worry, when we grieve, we feel burdened. Our thoughts seem to add extra weight to every limb in our body. It can become a challenge to lift our arms, even our faces, in prayer. It takes more effort to think, to work, even to breathe. 


It's not just one thing that weighs us down. It is dozens of things, some small, some unfixable, and some that point to future grief. Then along comes one more little challenge, and suddenly our knees buckle under the weight. 


I spent the last week up in and out of the medical world. I tried to take my mom to a doctor's appointment, and she was too ill to go. The next day, we were determined to get her to her post-surgery appointment to find out what was going on. While there, she nearly collapsed, and her blood pressure reading caused the nurse to call 911. We spent the rest of the day in ER. The next day before I had a chance to visit my mother in the hospital, my husband's 90-year-old aunt calls to tell me she has chest pain. We spent another day in the ER. Thankfully both are home, but as is often the case with the elderly, there are no clear answers.


No clear answers mean no solution.


No solution means it might happen again.


Meanwhile, I am experiencing sticker shock at the pharmacy, fielding phone calls from home healthcare nurses, and trying to access medical portals, which I personally believe are the work of the devil. I don't need one more thing in my life where following all the directions means I'm still wrong. I’m a former kindergarten teacher and we are all about following directions!


Throughout all of this, I wonder why an older adult dismissed from the hospital without a diagnosis for what happened at a doctor's office that earned her an ambulance ride now has three more doctor appointments scheduled with two in one day. As you can see, the burden on my brain means my thoughts are little more than a run-on sentence.


So what am I crying about? My washer died. 


I am so very tired of anything medical: hospital smells, doctor's offices without handicap accessibility, no parking at the ER, wheelchairs, and bare-bones staffing at assisted living centers. I have two loved ones with iffy health conditions, but it is a washer stuck on a spin cycle that does me in. 


I am burdened by the health situation of people I love, the challenges of caring for them during covid. I am weighed down by lost income, rejections, and just plain nastiness of the past year. So it is a bit surprising that a load of jeans soaking in denim blue water makes me say


 I can't even


But isn't that the way it so often is? Life grows hectic, and we burden ourselves with the yoke of responsibility and get to work. Burdens pile on, and we dig deeper into our strength reserves. Before we realize it, the yoke we put on ourselves is too heavy to bear.


But, the yoke we carry around is made of the law. It is made of our sins, mistakes, pride, foolishness, and weaknesses. We think we are bearing the burden successfully, but in reality, we are not even close. We finally see the true picture when one more thing lands on our backs. 


Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. Matthew 11: 28-30, ESV


These three verses don't make sense, do they? How is Jesus going to give us rest by giving us a new yoke to wear? If Jesus takes my handcrafted yoke and replaces it with another one, won't I just be burdened differently?


The answer, of course, is no!


The yoke I make for myself is heavy and full of regret, shame, and if I'm honest – anger. Jesus takes that yoke off my shoulders and sets it down at the foot of the cross. 


The yoke that Jesus gives me is the yoke of grace. In faint letters carved into it, we see mercy, forgiveness, agape love, strength, and peace. We don't feel the weight of these things because we did not create them. They are a gift from the Savior who earned them for us.


If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5: 25, ESV


Wearing the yoke of Jesus, we not only experience remarkable gifts, but we also find ourselves walking in step with the Spirit. This path is a gift the law and our effort can never accomplish. Here we find rest. Here we find renewal and belonging. Here we find our path. We see the light that Jesus has borne before us. The light He bears for us now.


We find peace and we cry tears of relief and joy.


With this yoke, I can face whatever medical issues pop up next week. I can transport to appointments, hold hands, fill out forms, and maybe even face some of those medical portals. 


I might even find a replacement washer – in stock – with free delivery!


Thank you, Jesus.


 Caregivers carry an extra burden even as their work is done with love. Weary Joy is a book that brings you insight and peace as each chapter reminds you of God's love and what He does through you.

Weary Joy

 Amazon    Kindle    Concordia Publishing House

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