While He was here on Earth, Jesus gave us a simple command: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28 NET)
It sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? I mean, how hard can it be to “come” to the lover of our souls (See Ps. 18:19)? How difficult should it be to “come” to our best friend (See John 15:14-16)? How tough is it to “come” to the most powerful being in the universe (See Matt 19:26), the steadfast, unmoving “rock” (See Is. 26:4)?
Why is it then, that in the face problems, do I have so much difficulty “coming”? Why do I so often fall into the traps of worry, fret, discouragement, self-pity, depression, even anger? Hasn’t God proven Himself faithful time and time again? Why is it so hard to “come”?
I found the answer this morning. The Biblical setting was just before the fall of Jerusalem, the fall brought on by the continuous, stubborn insistence of God’s people to worship their idols instead of God. In the midst of the turmoil, a group of men came to the prophet Ezekiel seeking God’s council, and God’s response is quite interesting: “Son of man, these men have erected their idols in their hearts and placed the obstacle leading to their iniquity right before their faces. Should I really allow them to seek me?” (Ezek. 14:3 NET)
Whoa. These men were being rebuked by God for having “idols” in their hearts, “idols” that act as “stumbling blocks” and were being used by the enemy of our souls to cause them to fall into sin! Because these men weren’t willing to give up their other “gods”, because they weren’t ready to embrace God’s sovereignty, He rebuked them.
I realized as I read this verse that God was telling me why it can be so hard for me to “come”. It is because I have set up an “idol” in my heart, and that “idol” is the enemy’s stronghold, the “rock in my path” so to speak that the devil uses to ensnare me.
Just what is my “idol”?
It didn’t take God long to place Truth in my heart: My “idol” is…control! I want to be in control. I need to do things to resolve problems. I desire to figure things out on my own, and this so often keeps me from coming.
But I actually do sometimes “come” to the Lord with my problems, and often when I do, I don’t get any answers…Why?
It is interesting that in the Ezekiel story, the men actually did “come” to God as well, yet He rebuked them: “Should I really allow them to seek me?” It made me think. When I do come to Jesus with my troubles, could it be that it is only to ask Him to bring about the solution I came up with? I’m afraid that I am very guilty of doing just that, and God’s response to me is the same as His response to the men who sought Him through Ezekiel: “Should I really allow [her] to seek me?”
It makes sense, really. How can God manifest His power in something that I am not willing to relinquish completely to Him? How can He work to bring about “my” will when it is goes against His own?
When Jesus tells us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28 NET), this isn’t all of the command. He goes on to say in the next two verses that we so often overlook, “Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” (vs. 29-30 NET)
When I relinquish control of my problems, of my busyness, etc., it makes me feel vulnerable; yet I am, in essence, taking His yoke upon myself, putting myself in the position to learn from Him how gentle and humble and kind He is. And it is only in so doing that I will find rest for my soul!
I was having a “moment” yesterday. The work seemed endless, discouragement and self-pity had set in, and to top it off, everything was going wrong. My family noticed my panic (they would have had to be pretty blind not to!), and bless their hearts, they prayed for me. I was able to take Jesus’ yoke. I laid my problems, my worries and my work in His hands, and I immediately felt peace. Who is surprised to know that everything proceeded to get done in a timely fashion, with God even sending me help from unlikely sources?
Control? I renounce you in the name of Jesus. No longer will you keep me from coming to the only true source of help. No longer will you keep me from taking Jesus’ yoke and learning from Him. No longer will you be a stumbling block causing me to sin. Be gone! Instead, I come and I take up Jesus’ yoke, for it is easy and light; and I give the all-powerful God of the universe–the tender lover of my soul, my best friend, my rock, my confident–complete and total control!
Will you join me in my New Years’ resolution?
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.