When Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you” (Matthew 11:29), He was inviting us to enter a relationship with Him by making gospel covenants. His strength then becomes our strength, His power our power; therefore, He added, “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (v. 30) because He is there to carry it with us.
However, there are times where it can feel like I don’t have much strength at all, that my weaknesses are too great for me to bear any burden.
This happened to Mitch in the Parable of the Backpack. He started his hike with the best of intentions and even felt fully prepared. But the time came when none of that mattered, and the burden he carried threatened to drag him down. He became stuck. Panic started to take hold.
It was time to swallow his pride, give up the weight he carried, and accept that a strength greater than his own had to lift him.
That parable is based on personal experience. I participated in a hike much like the one I described in a place called Coyote Gulch. I was the one who got stuck on a very steep rock face. And heights and I are not the best of friends. My hiking shoes were worn, and I was at the end of the group, watching how everyone else made their ascent and trying to follow. But I lost momentum and came to a stop when I couldn’t see where to grab or step next.
I had a backpack on, and I felt a spike of fear when it felt like it was trying to pull me to my death.
One of the other guys in the group was wearing military boots with plenty of grip, and he slid down to where I could hand him the backpack, which he passed on to someone else. Then we grasped hands, and with a bicep curl, he pulled me up to where I could get moving again.
Sometimes we go through things that we figure we ought to be able to handle ourselves. Then when we can’t, we get desperate, and that’s when we ask for help (or maybe not even then). But in a covenant relationship with Christ, He offers power constantly. We don’t have to wait until we’re breaking down, fearful, panicking, unable to cope with the situation.
Instead of giving up or giving in, we should give it over to Him. Sometimes that’s all the burden is: emotions that we struggle to deal with, and if we could put those aside, we could move forward. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the problem just goes away; rather, we can gain the capacity from Him to deal with it and overcome it. We can trade the worry, the desperation, for peace and strength.
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