Monday, April 07, 2008

The Yoke

The only time Jesus ever describes himself is in Matthew 11:29-30: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
When you are grieving, you expect to be given a stretcher. I mean, you’re hurting like someone who needs intensive care. But a yoke is what the Lord gave me. I thought it was very strange gift indeed. I mean, a yoke is an instrument of labor. Hard labor. Tiresome, hot and miserable labor under the sun. It is also a symbol of obligation and subjection. My grief is like that—a great burden.
Bearing that burden, I must go on with work, cooking, cleaning, lessons, appointments and calendars. Some dwarves whistle while they work; I grieve. That is not to suggest that every moment is painful, not at all. Being busy does beat antidepressants, and it can be a helpful way of working out your grief. I also get to work with some of the most wonderful, balanced and happy Christians in the world.
Let me tell you about this yoke though. It’s not at all what I expected. It lightens my burdens because Jesus bears the hardest parts. He allows just enough pressure to make me stronger but never lets me be crushed. The yoke he gives fits. It appears to be designed for me. Amazingly, it has no splinters or rough spots. It is easy. The Greek word for "easy" means to make useful or comfortable.
I admit I’m having a hard time loving the yoke. At times I resent it. Then again, it's not the yoke I’m supposed to love. I love Jesus. The yoke draws me to Him. When I’m in his yoke I can almost feel His heart beating. Let me tell you, his heart is greater than I ever imagined or preached. His heart is awesome! His love is overwhelming to me. From this unique "up close" vantage point, I notice something else. His scars. These were also custom made for me.
I’m amazed that I live most days utterly distant and ignorant of Him. This yoke takes me places I would not choose to visit, much less live. This yoke is His yoke. Anyone who takes it up finds that it makes him or her more like Jesus—gentle and humble of heart.

Ed Litton


Anonymous said...

Dear Ed,

I thank you for the heartfelt look inside your day to day life. I know that you speak the words of truth and hope that some day your yoke will be lighter. I hope as the time passes that the yoke will become your strength.
God bless you for sharing some things that are so very personal to you, that truly enlighten us.

Susan Cook

Anonymous said...

Pastor Ed,

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so honest and transparent. My heart aches to see you and your family grieve the loss of Tammy. I'm so grateful that you speak the truth to your people. It is what sets us free. It's what we need to hear and I appreciate that. God is using you in a powerful way Pastor Ed. You are a gifted writer and speaker. Thank you for sharing your heart and being so personal and letting your life be an open book. You are ministering to so many. We really miss Tammy in our ABF as well. Steve & I will keep praying for you and your family.

We Love You,
Steve & Christy Dale

Tony Simoncini said...

Pastor Ed,

I have never been more convinced of Romans Chapter 8 than I am today in the midst of my grief..."Nothing Can(has the ability or power to) seperate us from the love of Christ"
I walk daily, reminded often of my pain, searching for answers, and relief from the pain...all the while leaning on Romans 8. Death nor life, demons or the angels, not the high times or our lowest moments of our lives, nothing absolutely nothing can seperate us from Christ! Because He Is Love and He Never Let's Us Go. And I'm always reminded, even when my soul feels crushed, and when I feel forsaken, He Is With Me! And your yoke analogy has helped me see why!

"He Never Let's Go"

When clouds veil sun
And disaster comes
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul
When waters rise
And hope takes flight
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul

Ever faithful
Ever true
You I know
You never let go
You never let go

When clouds brought rain
And disaster came
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul
When waters rose
And hope had flown
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul

Oh, my soul
Oh, what love, oh, what love
Oh, my soul
Fills hope
Perfect love that never lets go

Oh, what love, oh what love
Oh, what love, oh what love
In joy and pain
In sun and rain
You’re the same
Oh, You never let go

Thank You,