“Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”
–Psalm 55:22 (NLT)
Starting in a solemn tone, Mike spoke. “I’ll come straight to the point. Wouldn’t you agree that as best friends, we have always been able to talk about everything?”
“Yes, I guess that’s true,” Frank answered reluctantly.
“Then if that’s the case, you might as well hear me out as long as you’re here.”
“Okay, go ahead then.”
“I’ll be streight with you, Frank. I think you should give up this whole hiking idea. You need to be reasonable. It’s just plain foolish to hike alone the first time.”
Frank cut in, enraged. “I know I said I’d listen, but let me worry about my own safety. I need to do this. I’ve been waiting my whole life to take this trip!”
“I beg to differ. You don’t need to do anything alone, and besides that backpack is way too heavy for you. The fundraiser can be rescheduled, and you don’t have to take that burden on your shoulders.”
But, not to be dissuaded, Frank ignored his friend’s advice and set out the next day.
Everything started out so well. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky when Frank began his hike, and everything seemed to be going Frank’s way. Then suddenly, the weather took a turn for the worse. A storm came out of nowhere, and Frank began to lose his bearings amid the strong wind and torrential rain. He felt so confused and alone, and the burden on his back grew more and more impossible until he almost collapsed under its weight.
Doesn’t this story paint a picture of you and me? Whatever else God might be doing during these trying times, I believe He is calling for revival, and begging His church to wake up. But in order for that to take place, I think we need to re-examine these familiar words.
Revival is a term which is often thrown around loosely, but it has to begin with you and me. Here you will see the outline Jesus gave for true revival to take place.
Step 1 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” It is sad to say, but a lot of people treat Jesus as though He were a fire insurance salesman, rather than God’s Son. They don’t accept Him on His terms. Instead, they pick and choose aspects of His personality they feel comfortable with. Then they wonder why they don’t have the rest which Jesus spoke about.
The invitation which Jesus gave us is calling for a wholehearted commitment that only increases with time. He is asking us to lose our lives for the gospel, which means making Him our top priority. Then, and only then, we can begin to experience peace when things are falling apart.
Lastly, please notice that this invitation is given to all of humanity, and not just a select few. But that leads me into step 2.
Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” In this step, there are at least three things which Christ wants us to see. Taking His yoke upon us speaks both of initially teaming up with Christ, and continuing to walk with Him in the direction He would choose. Like the oxen of that day, you and I must be yoked with Christ in order to pull the plow of service in a fruitful manner.
The yoke also speaks of identity. Jesus goes on to say, “for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” This is an autobiographical statement which we are to identify with. So that we may be conformed into His image, we need to put on His yoke as habitually as you would put on clothing in the morning.
Next, Christ goes on to say that we must learn from Him. The word “disciple” means learner, and in life we must have the continual attitude of a student. But don’t miss the results of this kind of lifestyle. Jesus says, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Elsewhere, the Son of God said, “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Not as the world gives give I unto you.” His peace is not the absence of conflict. Rather, it is the assurance that He always walks beside us.
Like the backpacker in our story, however, we all carry unnecessary burdens. Jesus told us He was more than willing to take this baggage, but giving our burdens To Christ can be a real battle. Much like the backpacker, we battle with self-importance and pride every day.
For example, when it comes to trusting God during these times, we can magnify the situation, piling on unnecessary burdens. The Bible says that believers are involved in constant spiritual warfare, so let’s briefly examine the above steps again.
In the midst of this Coronavirus outbreak, I believe that becoming people of prayer has to be our first concern. For that reason, we need to come to Him with abandon. When Jesus spoke about coming to Him in prayer, He spoke of an act which didn’t involve a lot of fanfare. Rather, He wants us to quietly take our petitions to a loving God.
Many times, we are fixated on numbers, and upon doing things in a way which will make us stand out. But like John the Baptist said, I believe our motto must be this: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
When believers do pray in public, there is nothing like being around a small group of people whose hearts have been touched and changed by God. As we see things becoming darker in our world, we should seek out this divine support and human fellowship more and more. This world is ripe for revival, and God longs to visit us. But He is calling for men and women who will come to Him with open hearts and empty hands–people who rely not on gimmicks or sensationalism, but rather on His spirit.
King Solomon likened doing things in our own power to chasing the wind. In contrast, Jesus spoke about a new dynamic. He said that His Spirit also took on the mysterious and omnipresent quality of the wind. We don’t know where it comes from, or where it goes.
In our day, we need to reexamine His Words, for there is a lot of confusion about the Spirit’s working. This can be cleared up, however, by going back to the Book of Books.
Instead of using the windmills of platform, programs and prestige, then, we need to study God’s Word. His scripture invites us to a total dependence upon Him, which offers rest from striving. Rather than trying to harness His power on our own, we need to lay our backpacks down, and take up our crosses. We need to let Jesus search our hearts and carry us with His strength, abandoning the winds of emptiness by coming to Him in a new way.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-432-6498. When prompted, press 1 for live chat rooms, and we’ll be waiting in room 31. You can press pound to bypass our friend Sharon’s intro message once you’ve entered room 31. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.