A few weekends ago I shared this thought:
Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…..and you will find rest for you souls.” (Matthew 11:29) Not “poof” but “pull”. Thankfully we are not left to pull alone – unless we choose to do things our own way. Then I sense Jesus simply slips out from under the yoke and walks alongside us as we struggle along, gently saying, “Just let me know when you want to do it my way (give, forgive, confess, etc) and I will get back under the yoke with you.”
The concept above has been the focus of much discussion and many sessions in the last years. I am sure it must at least baffle, if not drive some people crazy when they come to me for “answers” and I consistently defer them to the scripture and Jesus. After struggling with some issue or situation for a long period of time, they finally concede they might need help and come to Pastor Jim for “poof”; however, they do not receive “poof”, but instead are given “pull” because that is what God teaches us about the journey of life.
Please allow me to share an excerpt from the book, Broken Children, Grown-Up Pain, by Paul Hegstrom. It is the testimony of his personal struggle with “poof” and “pull”:
“Six months after becoming serious about therapy, one night I threw myself onto the floor, and for more than two hours I screamed at God. Then I cried like a baby, moving from rage to tears and back again. After what seemed like an eternity, I became very still. My spirit was totally resigned, and I felt broken. The Holy Spirit, as clearly as if He were sitting next to me, said, ‘You’ve been crying out for wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, but you have an unteachable spirit'”
“Something inside clicked. For the first time, I realized the true extent to which I was set in my ways. I wanted things to go my way, and nothing else would do. I was forced to face the reality that regardless of how often I tried to get help, I always wanted healing to happen on my terms. My spirit didn’t have any desire to be taught. For years I evaded dealing with the truth about myself, and I angrily blamed God for not bringing me to wholeness.”
“I turned over on my back, faced the ceiling, and said, God, what You see is what You get. I give it to You – my past, present and future – because I’m hopeless.”
“The great joy of grace is that God doesn’t concede when we stomp our feet and whine. He doesn’t respond to the pressure, force, manipulation, abuse, or control we typically use to get what we want. To ‘come as a child’ means to come humbly, with an open mind and honest spirit. It means facing the truth on His terms.”
When Jesus tells us to put on His yoke and learn from Him, with an awareness that “I am gentle and humble in heart”, I think one of the things He is trying to teach us is to be submissive, to stop resisting, to cooperate. Perhaps this would be a good week to learn from Jesus.