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.