Matthew 11:28-29 – Come to me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest. Accept my teaching. Learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will be able to get some rest. (ERV)
Someone said, It isn't the load that wears us down. It's the way that we carry it. They might've added, It's the fact that we carry it, at all.
I was in the job market for many, many years, under-qualified, as I worked to support my husband, who was studying in order to become a philosophy professor in university.
My last job involved such a long commute that my children were asleep when I left and asleep when I got home. Every workday, I travelled two hours by street car, subway, and then a city bus stuffed with recent immigrants, mothers like me, employed at the pickle works next door to the publishing company that I worked at. Despite the early hours, these good-natured individuals up and down the aisles were constantly engaged in pratfalls and other rowdy antics for the entire trip. I could only imagine what probably went on at their workplace.
Previously, I'd been running a live-in group home for teenage boys in trouble with the law. With my own three and another six, that made nine children under my care, whose manners and outward appearance I was supposedly moulding into model citizens — me, with my backwoods upbringing! These boys rejected new outfits and clung stubbornly to their old clothes and street ways. One day they proudly reported having stolen a case of soft drinks from a truck parked in our neighbourhood. The way that they'd been brought up, that theft would've been met with positive approval.
Those were just two of the bottom-of-the-barrel jobs that I had, not without complaint. What else could I do? Alcoholics Anonymous teaches that the natural state of man is restless, irritable, and discontented. Back then, I had forgotten that there was One who invites us to rest and let Him carry the burden of the work. I can't handle it, God. You take over, was the simple prayer that I finally prayed, my soul worn right down to the rubber. Impossible, someone said, is God's favourite word. The second half of today's Scripture asks us to accept His teaching and learn of Him. I began to turn to prayer whenever the police or the social workers were at the door in the middle of the night.
What a relief it is for us to take the route of Charles Albert Tindley's gospel hymn, Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. We human beings were never meant to carry that load.
Prayer: Dear Father God, thank You for the words that Your Son Jesus gave to the multitudes in His day and through them to us. Amidst our major burdens, such as lack of money, old age, pain, and suffering, remind us of the hymn's promise, *He will make a way for You; He will lead You safely through." In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "God Moves In A Mysterious Way" (Lyrics)