Where Is That Burden Coming From?

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” – Matthew 11:28 – 30

I read this passage earlier this week.  As I pondered it, I could not help but think of recent conversations I’ve had with friends who are feeling overwhelmed by the demands of life.  When I read a passage like this, it seems that it was never Jesus’ call for His followers to feel overwhelmed in this way.  If our burden feels heavy, it may not have been placed there by God.  Therefore, I cannot help but wonder where this overwhelmed feeling comes from.

There is no denying that real challenges and real pain exist in in life.  In the past few years, I have had friends who I greatly respect experience some very real pain in life.  As I’ve watched them navigate through the grief and pain, though, I’ve seen a depth of character and peace emerge that often goes beyond my scope to understand.  Still, in these situations the burden itself does not come from God.  Instead, it may come directly from Satan or may simply be the byproduct of living in a world that has fallen from the greatness God has designed for it.  God may allow the difficult situation, while also providing the strength to carry the burden.

Still, there are other times when day-to-day expectations seem to overwhelm us.  There are things each of us is responsible for, but I often wonder if we place more expectations on ourselves than God ever has.  These may be the heavier burdens that Jesus invites us to lay aside as we take on His lighter yoke.
I know when I have felt the greatest amount of stress in my life, often it is because of what I think others are expecting of me.  These expectations may only exist in our minds, though.  Those are the times we need to ask the Spirit to help us discern what is real and what are the imaginary burdens we have placed on ourselves.  If another person’s expectations are real, we need to bring them to God and ask if the expectations are from Him.  If not, we must trust Him to watch over us as we ignore the expectations of others for the sake of His call.  If they are from Him, we must trust Him to provide everything we need to bear the burden.
Let us seek the light yoke that comes from God.


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