Wednesday Wisdom 🙂
Inspiration this week comes from the Gospel of Matthew 11: 28-30
“Then Jesus said, ‘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.'”
Not a day passes when I do not need comfort. Whether small hurts build up to weigh down my heart, or a single large burden dominates my mind, I rarely go through a day when finding and accepting comfort is not important. In those moments of pain, my brain tempts me to look for logical answers despite the fact that my heart is very clearly needing the comfort of peace. The outcome of my daily experiences tends to be tied to which of two possible questions I choose to ask God: Do I ask “why” something is happening and get stuck at the very beginning, or do I accept the challenge and instead choose to ask “how” we can get through it together?
Jesus tells us repeatedly in the Gospels, “Take up your daily cross and follow me.” Often I find myself puzzled by that message, and trying to meld it together with the above passage from Matthew. What cross is my cross? And, what does it truly mean to take it up and follow him? Is the cross the yoke Jesus reverences in the above scripture? I found clarity on this as I read Henri J.M. Nouwen’s book, Following Jesus. Nouwen points out that Jesus says to “Take up your cross” – he doesn’t say, create a cross or to take up someone else’s. He suggests that our cross is our own pain, our own hurts, and that taking up our cross means that we have the courage to see that pain.
Perhaps as we answer Jesus’s call to pick up our pain, then we are able to yoke it to the healing presence of the cross. There we can accept the comfort and peace of a God that loves first and can sooth our hearts.
As I think back on my life, I remember all of the times that I said – “I’m tough. I can do this. I don’t need any help. I can suffer through it.” Do you ever tell yourself that? I’m figuring out that when I do this, I hide my burden and honestly try to hide from it. That makes it become heavier and heavier because it surrounds me at the same time that I deny that it exists. Perhaps being tough isn’t the point…God doesn’t want us to just suffer through it. He wants us to pick up our cross so that He can compassionately comfort us as we travel the journey together. When I acknowledge my pain and share it, then I am able to shift my focus. The pain is still there, but it moves to the background because I am surrounded by comforting love that breaks through the fear.
“Perfect love casts out all fear” – my good days are the ones that I lean into that 🙂 Our God is a God of unconditional love, not of fear. At the cross, he accepts our fear and our hurts, and exchanges them for love. That’s where we find rest in Jesus’ yoke, and it is where we come to accept the comfort that lightens our burdens. The pain doesn’t go away, the challenge remains, but we ask “how” instead of asking “why”. As we lift our eyes and ask “how”, we accept our cross and lean into our humble and gentle God who leads us in love.
This week I am leaning in. I am in the process of moving my older two girls into college – one in Indiana and the other in North Carolina. I’m traveling cross-country and leaving pieces of my heart behind with each of the girls. It’s hard. It hurts. But, I know that they are where God called them to be and I am accepting comfort from the abundant love that awaits me as I pick up those hurts and bring them to the cross.
6 responses to “accepting Comfort…”
Thank you, Anne! Though my pain is not dropping girls off at college, we all (as you say) have our own cross we must bear. Thank you for the perspective to bear it in grace!
Good to hear from you Becky 🙂 Thank you for reading and always being so supportive! Have a wonderful day!!
I know I say this every time but I’m going to say it again, “your sharing this morning really touched my heart”! Your message is one we all can relate to. But seeing how to handle the pain/crosses in our lives lifts us up and gives us hope. Thank you for doing what you do, Anne!
Thank you, Roger 🙂 I am glad that my posts help you on the “journey”! Enjoy the book — it truly touched my heart. I have another couple of blog posts circulating in my head from reading it alongside another book I am in the middle of on how to be a “peacemaker”.
Lots of good food for thought 🙂
Hugs to you! I hated driving away when I took mine to college and best of luck to the both of them! I went to school in N. Carolina (ECU) Some of the best years of my life. I hope Megan totally loves N. Carolina, the beaches, the mountains and everything in between. It is one of my favorite beautiful places on earth. And fresh seafood is a plus!
Yeah! I am glad that you are a North Carolina fan and also hope that Meg loves her time there 🙂 She is very anxious to get moved in and this week will be a big “life step” for her. She’s ready and that brings me peace. I am hoping that if I do a good job “keeping my eyes up” and take up my cross that the driving away will be okay. I did pretty well when I dropped of AG last weekend.
Take care! So good to hear from you.