Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)
Two years ago, when God first called me to walk El Camino de Santiago, it was an impossible, ridiculous request (in my own power). Yet as He always does, He met me where I was, strengthened me for the task, taught me many lessons along the way, and is continuing to give me His strength each day.
Today, I carried a 19lb pack for 5.5 miles. That is a new achievement for me. I have a long way yet to go before October, but with God’s help I know that it is possible.
I feel as though I am laboring and heavy laden. I am certainly weary, but He gives me rest for my soul.
Sometimes life loads us down with some very heaven burdens, and sometime we voluntarily carry loads that the Lord never intended for us to walk with. My heavy pack certainly slows me down quite a bit, and the pain in my back muscles under the strain has my attention (for now). The pack even throws off my center of gravity making me a bit unstable. Yet I know that as soon as I take off that pack and set it down I feel better and can move much more quickly.
This pack is a temporary load and burden that the Lord has asked me to carry for a time. Thank goodness it is only for a few hours each day! The result of my obedience to God’s call has been renewed strength and health. The struggle to achieve this calling (to be obedient) has pressed me and challenged me and changed me.
A friend of mine who is in the midst of her own obedience to calling is in a season of rest. God is refreshing her weary body and soul. He is preparing her for a new season of obedience in her life. Both her rest and my labor are demonstrations of obedience. We each need to listen to what God is asking us to do each day and simply obey Him. He loves us enough to not leave us where we are. He has good works for us to do and often we need some preparation in Him for what is to come. Each new day is another opportunity to grow in Christ. His ways are better for us and those around us than our ways ever could be.
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. (Mark 1:35 ESV)
And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. (Mark 6:46 ESV)
But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray. (Luke 5:15-16 ESV)
While listening to a sermon podcast on my walk this morning God reminded me that I must also have solitude in my life – time where I am quiet and listening for God to speak into my heart and soul what He would desire of me.
I hope that today you are able to take off your burdensome pack and sit at the feet of Jesus. Ask Him, “Lord, what do You want from me?” and then stay a while to listen for His answer. Make time for solitude with God.
Obey Him. Rest in Him. Listen to Him. Seek Him. Be encouraged. Press on.