When Life is Hard

Life always has seasons of difficulty.  It is rare for anyone to go too long in life without being confronted with a situation or circumstance that makes you realize how out of your control your life really is.  It is in these circumstances that we really find out where our trust is and where we find our encouragement.   Where do you turn for comfort?  Where do you look for encouragement?

Many believers have specific passages that are their ‘go to’ in these seasons of uncertainty.  These are passages that speak to our aching bones, that lift us out of the mire and lift our perspective to Christ.  I have a few passages that I turn to, but one has stood out in my mind, Matthew 11:28-30.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Jesus is showing that His compassion meets us in those dark moments, when the burdens of life have brought us low.  He presents a picture of oxen in a yoke to bring us comfort.  At first glance, this hardly sounds comforting.  Having grown up in an agricultural community, I can picture the significance of this illustration.

A yoke is a tool that is used to join two animals together to accomplish a single task.  Generally, oxen wear the yoke to help keep them unified in their efforts to pull or plow.  The yoke helps guide them and train them.  596f5218871128ed7db860948b1f9521.jpg

Jesus puts His yoke upon us to guide us through these dark times.  He puts it on us to teach us things we would not learn any other way.  He guides us in these moments because it is really the only way our souls can really find rest.

The trap we often fall into is looking for an end to the trial/suffering/pain as the escape.  Maybe we think if we just ‘grin and bear it’ we will be able to survive.  Maybe we look to other things for our escape, for our peace.  But the only peace that will reach our souls and counsel our hearts comes from Christ.

You may think, “That doesn’t look very comfortable!”  But Jesus says this yoke that He gives is easy and the burden is light.  It isn’t burdensome or cumbersome.  It doesn’t bring us down, it keeps us up.

In seasons where I feel the temptation to turn to a puddle, I look to Christ and remember His yoke is guiding me through this.  If I trust Him, look to Him, then the burden will be light.  This truth sets my heart at ease and gives me a confidence that nothing else can.

What is your ‘go to’ verse or passage?