I will not lie to you. This week was a challenge for me in a number of ways. Why is it that so often when the Lord is teaching me something that I am such a slow learner? I know fairly well that if I learn the lesson quickly, I can move on from it, but still sometimes I learn slowly.
This week I hugged three of my kids goodbye and sent them out into the world to go change it, to allow the Lord to change them and grow them, and to further His kingdom here on the Earth through them. Two I put on a plane to Ireland… you know Ireland… across the big pond? Where riots break out on a regular basis. That Ireland. The other I sent off to New York City. My fourteen year old daugher off to Harlem. You go girl.
I sent them knowing that the Lord had called them and that He would accomplish His will through them regardless of the outcome. Still, the burden to worry a bit was strong.
There were other challenges this week as well. Burdens. You have those. Those challenges that rest on your shoulders and make you carry them around? Those things that whisper constant negativity in your ear? During a quiet moment with the Lord this week, He began to show me how challenges I am given can be both burdens and blessings at the same time. My lesson is to learn how to live in the blessing and hand over the burden to Him.
The work I do, the work I get paid to do, is both a burden and a blessing. It both takes my time, energy and focus away from those I love most (burden)… and yet it brings me joy, professional challenge, and satisfaction. Not to mention the paycheck (blessing). There are times when I feel like my job will swallow me up. I fight hard against that. I had a particularly challenging couple of days at work this week. The burden was heavy. I had not learned my lesson well.
And then I walked into his room. He was an elderly patient who shares a name with a famous country singer. To ensure his privacy, I’ll call him Willie Nelson. As I walked in, I said, “I’m looking for Willie Nelson.” The older gentleman was sitting up in the chair and said, “You found him.” I said, “Well, I guess you’ll just have to sing me a song, then.” And he did. And it was… just what I needed. He didn’t sing a Willie Nelson song, as I expected, but rather an original song he made up and sang to his wife when she was still alive in a nursing home.
He sang of heaven, and Jesus. He sang about how this world is not my home and that in times of trouble, Jesus is my closest friend, and that I must give my burdens to Him. I felt Jesus right there in the room, pressing in and offering to take my burden, to share His yoke with me.
Yes. I cried. Right there in his room. Right in front of Willie Nelson as he sang in his sweet baritone voice. I cried and knew that I have not yet learned to live in the blessing and turn over the burden to Jesus.
There are many challenges in this life that also bless us. Jesus wants to take the burdens of this life from us. He will exchange those for his burden which is light. Jesus tells us,
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” Matthew 11:28-30
How about you? Are you carrying burdens that if you gave them over to Jesus would allow you to live in the blessing that some challenges bring? This week, I learned to let my children go out into the world and bring the light of Christ to desolate lands… AND to turn my worries for their safety over to the Lord.
I’m still working on mastering this lesson in other areas of my life, but I am making some progress, I think. I want to walk in blessing and hand over burdens. I want to yoke myself with Jesus and let Him lead me into living in the blessing. It’s more than seeing the glass half full, or seeing life through rose colored glasses. It’s embracing the relationship He’s offering us to the fullest.