Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O For A Closer Walk With God"1 (Lyrics)
I try to get my little granddaughters out for a walk every day. The fresh air is good for all of us. It is also a great time to exercise my dogs. In the winter, however, it is quite difficult, as the paths are covered with snow, which is often deep enough to make pulling the sleigh a task that is getting beyond me physically, when it is loaded down with 50 to 60 pounds of little girls in winter attire.
A friend, who often walks with me, started to get after me about training my largest dog, Denver, to pull the sleigh for me. At first, I had a number of excuses for not doing this. It meant extra work to train him. Would it actually work? Was it safe? Was it fair that he would have to work while the other dogs ran freely? Still, my friend kept after me. So one day, I decided to try hitching Denver up to the sleigh in our driveway, and I got him to pull it up the hill to the house. My two-year-old granddaughter shrieked with joy as he did so, and Denver actually seemed to really enjoy the job.
After practicing a number of times over several days with him, I attempted our first walk with the loaded sleigh along the paths. Denver excelled with ease at his task and didn't seem to mind at all that he had to work while the others ran freely. He actually acted like he was very proud to be doing this job and helping out.
This little lesson of learning to lay down my sleigh-pulling burden and allowing Denver to pick it up for me, reminded me of the promise that Jesus gave to us:
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)
For many years, I wearied myself by seeking to carry my own burdens instead of allowing God to carry them for me — burdens such as guilt, failure, insecurity, worry, anxiety, loneliness, fear, and the like. And why did I do so? A lack of faith was definitely one reason: I worried whether God cared enough to help me; I wondered if I could trust Him to do the job properly. Another reason was a lack of discipline to train my thoughts to think of God first amidst any and all problems that arose and then either to place them in His hands and leave them there, or else to pray and listen for His guidance and then to obey it. Lastly, I needed to learn humility: I needed to understand that I didn't have to do everything myself, that I could trust Someone else to carry or to help me carry any and every burden that came my way. What a relief it has been over the years since I learned these lessons to let go and to trust the Lord with my burdens, for indeed, I did find rest for my soul.
How about you? Are you still trying to carry your own burdens, or have you, too, learned to let God do the job? If so, wonderful! If not, what are you waiting for? Go to Him, you who are weary and burdened, and He will indeed give you rest for your soul.
Prayer: Father God, thank You so much that we can come to You at any time in any place and cast our care upon You, and willingly, You will pick it up and provide rest for our souls as we trust in Your faithfulness to care for us and our burdens. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.