From an article originally posted November 22, 2013…
Living in multiple seasons of struggle I have heard every platitude known to man, but there are a few that never bristle my spirit. This beautiful verse from Matthew is always a comfort, always a challenge.
I will confess this to be a verse I highly regard, but do not fully understand. If I’m frank I can go on to explain some humorous ways I have dealt with this passage. I have visualized wrapping up my burden and handing it over, I have prayed my burden over, I have imagined my burden carried away by Jesus.
Through my bald, emaciated days, the prayer through this verse came out in one and two word please. Help, oh help. Jesus, help. Mercy, have mercy. Protect, protect my kids. Help.
I sometimes shudder looking at these pictures, but if I look close, really close, I was helped. See that hand—that’s Anna lifting the burden. She rubbed my back and emptied my vomit bucket without being grossed out. See this picture—there is my beautiful Jen behind the lens weeping and loving me quietly by entering this place of suffering.
Sometimes I struggle with the verse because I want the verse to mean my burden is going to be taken away. But if I really look closely at the verse it doesn’t say that. I want this verse to mean my friend’s niece won’t have to go through chemo at the impossibly young age of two, that my friend will be granted passage home with her new son from the Congo, that the damage done to my friend’s GI track from radiation can be healed and food will again have a safe passage. You see, I very much have a picture of what a light burden and easy yoke looks like. I’m pretty sure my picture isn’t at all what Jesus means. When I look at what Jesus means, I’m not angry, I’m deeply comforted. Can you see Him lifting my burden here? I can.
I think these verses are only platitudes when we only look through the lens of how we want a prayer answered. It’s the idolatry of wanting it our way. I have often been guilty of this sin. When I receive the verses and my heart is hard, I roll my eyes and dismiss the kindness sent to me. It’s ugly business. But when I’m soft, looking Jesus in the face, I am helped, I am given eyes to see grace, I am met.
Truly, the most beautiful thing to me might be that even in my hard hearted confusion and bitterness, I AM STILL MET. Jesus is too much a gentleman to disown me in my hard hearted, bad attitude. Maybe that is the greatest beauty of this verse. He loves! He loves! He loves!
How do you believe this verse or struggle to believe this verse today? How are you beautifully met by grace today in a way you never expected? How is Jesus lifting your face and carrying your burden?