Our 6 month old puppy Rocket, LOVES going wherever we go. However, from the beginning, he has strongly resisted wearing his leash. Once it’s on, he trots off happily to whatever activity we’ve planned. Unfortunately, the initial response is ALWAYS the same. ‘Don’t want it. Don’t want it! DON’T WANT IT!’ In his overzealous puppy brain, he thinks he is capable of being in COMPLETE control of himself. In spite of this delusion, he has come to learn that he will not be allowed to join us unless he has his collar and leash. So he BEGRUDGINGLY allows me to put it on him.
Rocket could certainly get to the park without his leash. However, a lot of not so good things could happen left to his own devices. He gets distracted and heads off in random directions. He goes into other peoples yards and does unsavory things. He charges full speed down to the path without any thought of cyclists, risking a disastrous collision. He could end up getting separated from us and get lost or taken. Worst of all he could get killed by a passing car. His collar and leash are necessary and loving means of leading, guiding and protecting him. Rockets leash is a lot like Jesus yoke.
As we were going through the daily dance of ‘I don’t want my collar’, it occurred to me that I can be a lot like Rocket when it comes to submitting to God. There are times I accept His lead begrudgingly. I learned long ago that resisting God is a BAD idea. Yet, I still find myself telling God ‘I got this. I’ll let you know when I need help.’ It hadn’t occurred to me that begrudging acceptance of His leadership is a subtle and dangerous form of resistance. The word resist means “to exert force in opposition.” Not a good thing spiritually speaking. Needless to say, when I respond this way I am as delusional as Rocket.
At it’s best, life tends to get complicated. With all the challenges, it can get burdensome and it’s just plain tiring doing it on my own. Even my best decisions can have unforeseen negative consequences. Try as I might, I just can’t ever see the WHOLE picture. No matter how strong and capable we may be, we aren’t designed to do life on our own. The stupidest part is, trying to is as delusional as Rocket trying to get to the park without his leash. We can do it, but it’s unnecessarily difficult and potentially dangerous. The good news is Jesus offers us an alternative to the difficulty and exhaustion of going it alone.
“Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. Matt 11:28-30.”
In her devotion “The Life You Long For”, Christy Nockles defines rest as trusting in God. If we truly trust that God loves us and wants the best for us; that He is not only capable, but totally willing to handle ANY circumstance or situation that comes our way; and that He passionately wants to enable us to become our BEST selves, then we can yoke ourselves to him confidently. When we allow ourselves to be yoked to Jesus, we can actually find REST for our weary souls!. For many of us, this pandemic is the longest period of sustained stress we have ever faced and it has been EXHAUSTING. We are in DESPERATE need of REST!
Willingly, joyfully, submitting to Jesus’ yoke can bring us the thing we need most in any season of life, REST! Jesus is a gentle and humble leader. Therefore we have no fear of exploitation or abuse. He promises to guide and teach us from His vast wellspring of wisdom. I can be at peace no matter what I face. When I have Him walking beside me through the furrows of life, I am assured that I will get where I need to go and experience restoration for my soul along the way. So it’s time to short circuit resistance. Day by day, I need to chose to take Jesus’ yoke, not begrudgingly but with excitement and celebration. Jack Cassidy expresses this perfectly in his song ”Let Go, Let God”. It’s how we find rest for our souls.