I remember that Mom would then "soothe" me by singing a lullaby about a baby in a cradle wedged in a tree that came crashing down when the wind caused the load-bearing limb to break. Surely, if I was going to die in my sleep that would be how.
And parents wonder why we're in therapy.
Our bodies, minds, even our souls crave times of tranquility. For our own health and well-being--not to mention the well-being of those around us--we need regular periods of calm and quiet. But, for many in today's culture, rest and relaxation are foreign concepts. Times of caring for our bodies, de-cluttering our minds, and quieting our souls are often the first things scratched from our "To Do" lists when we get too busy.
We happen to have a Heavenly Father who wants nothing but the best for His kids. That's why it grieves Him when He sees us weighing ourselves down with unmet needs, unreasonable expectations, and unresolved issues. His desire is that we soar like eagles. But we are often so weighed down by the pressures, fears, and worries of this world that we can't get off the ground.
So our Heavenly Father comes alongside us. He offers to carry our burden for us. His invitation is given in the book of Matthew: "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" (Matt. 11:28, NLT).
When we are worn out from the despair of trying to be all things to all people, God says, come to me. When we are overwhelmed with doubts that we could ever be "successful," God says, come to me. When we are burdened with discouragement from seeking approval from others who will never give it, God says, come to me.
But there's more. When we come to our Heavenly Father through His Son, He invites us then to take from Him. Take my yoke upon you.
A yoke is a carved, wooden beam that connects oxen together to pull a heavy load or cart. Yokes make it possible for oxen to handle a burden they could never carry on their own. Yokes allow animals to share their strength so they can work beyond their capacity.
When we take Jesus’s yoke upon us, we are, in essence, taking on His power. The result is synergistic. By joining with Him, we operate beyond our capacity. He keeps pulling along with us until we get the job done. When we take His yoke on us and follow His lead, we find rest from our burdens.
Being yoked with Jesus also assures us that not only won’t He leave our side, He can’t leave our side! By definition, once we take on His yoke, He takes on ours.
Once we come to Him and take from Him, God, as explained in this text from Matthew, then makes us this offer: let me teach you. Our Heavenly Father wants us to enter into a relationship with Him so that we can see and experience for ourselves the serenity and peace that only He can give.
Nowhere in the Bible does our Heavenly Father say, come to me and I will take your problems away. Despite what many “health and wealth” preachers are promising, God never vows to give His children a problem-free life. His guarantee is quite the opposite. Jesus said, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows." That’s our promise. You won’t see Grandma cross-stitching that verse to hang on the living room wall. But there was more to Jesus's statement. There is a second part to this text, an addendum that provides a divine disclaimer, a comforting conclusion: "But take heart, because I have overcome the world" (John 16:33, NLT).
No matter what trials or sorrows we face on this earth, God’s kids can take heart. We are yoked to One so powerful that He rose victorious over sin and death and hell. Surely He can handle any problems we may face.
When we find ourselves unable to sleep at night we would be wise to follow our Heavenly Father's advice. Come to Him. Take His yoke. Learn from Him. In His arms we will find rest for our souls.