28Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.  30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Mt. 11:28-30)

God showed me yesterday that I was trying to claim verse 30 without embracing 28 and 29.  So I was meditating on this passage and here is what the Holy Spirit revealed to me.

Take my yoke . . . there is an element of choosing.

So, I chose when I was 7 years old and said yes to Jesus, yes I want you in my life.

And, I’ve chosen again and again, as I did in 2005 when I prayed, Lord, do whatever it takes in my life to make me into the disciple you want me to be. And I meant it . . . and I still mean it . . . most days.

Now, I need to choose again . . . not to fight . . . not to run ahead . . . not to lag behind . . . and certainly not to stop, but to do my best to match my steps to Jesus to look up, to look over at the lover of my soul, to surrender my wish to know where this road is going and why it’s so rocky, to let my Lord carry me when I am weary.

I need this day to choose again this path and not to look left or right at the inviting orchards and parkland.  Maybe the road ahead looks bleak and desolate and the sun is glaring in my eyes, obscuring my view, but this is where my friend Jesus is going and more than anything, I want to go with Him . . . I choose to go with Him.

But sometimes, I try to run ahead, just to get a look at what’s over the next hill and the yoke chokes me and I cough and gasp for air.  And sometimes I’m looking around where maybe others are relaxing in the shade of an apple tree and I long to stop and I look long and hard and get out of step with my Saviour and the yoke chafes my shoulder and makes me stumble.

And when those times come, it feels too hard and too heavy and in a fit of temper and impatience I stop and I put my hands up and I heave with all my might and off it comes and then I rush ahead only to slam into it there in front of me for, of course, Jesus has kept walking.  I fall down at His feet with my face in the dirt.  I cry out, I can’t do this anymore.  It’s too hard.  It’s too heavy.

And He kneels beside me and takes my hand and tells me, you can keep walking.  I’ll help you.  He pulls me up as if I weigh nothing. 

I cling tightly to His hand and whisper, I can do this, if you’ll help me.  I don’t want to, but I will, if you’ll walk beside me and not let go.  Then, awkwardly, because I’m still clinging to his hand, I grab my side of the yolk and I bend my knees a bit, put my shoulder under it and give a mighty shove, remembering how hard it was to be rid of the thing.  Whoosh . . . up it flies.  I look at Jesus in surprise.  He smiles down at me.  It’s My strength that makes it light . . . not your efforts, not your understanding.

And so I walk on, clinging tightly, a little desperately, to His hand.  I look down at His feet as I stretch, trying to match my step to His.  I look up at His face to catch His smile.  I look down at my feet . . . stretch . . . a little closer this time . . .