Sunday, February 3, 2013

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

This verse was on my mind as I was trying to go to sleep last night.  How?  How do I give this burden to the Lord?  Am I supposed to find this easy?  If I had more faith..?  

My experience of being Christian has usually aligned more with C.S. Lewis:
“I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”
Except that Port is not my beverage of choice.  

I have thought about how to find joy in suffering.  I was moved reading about perfect joy in the Little Flowers of St. Francis a long time ago.  It makes sense to me that in our suffering we can come closer to our Lord in a very real way- and in that there is a joy to be found which supersedes any anywhere else.  

But none of that is easy.  What is this easy yoke?  

It is not easy to worry about a sick baby.  It is not easy to string all the various parts of our lives into coherence.   I worry about a lot!

I worry about my baby who spends more than her share of time in the hospital.  I worry about the effect this separation will have on her older sister.  I worry about meeting Lily's emotional, spiritual and academic needs.  I worry about bills.  

I am about halfway through my third pregnancy, and I worry!  How will I balance hospitalizations with a newborn?  How often are we going to have to do this?  This was only supposed to be three of four days and we are coming up on three weeks!  I have to get home to get ready.  I don't even know what I need yet.  I have bins of baby clothes, but they are not sorted.  I have a car sear, but at some point I will have to look up whether or not it has expired.  We cannot fit a third car seat in our car.  

I know that no one worries about all the rules for pregnancy after the first.  (I tell myself that anyway.)  But I am so far away from the rules...  I worry.  Eat every four hours?  I ate two meals today.  One real meal and a granola bar.  When I am home I am better, but here I barely give eating a thought.  I only brought one week's supply of prenatal vitamins to the hospital, and I keep forgetting to ask for more.  My blood pressure has been bordering on high for the past few visits- between the coffee and the stress this cannot be good.  So I worry.  

And then I feel like I am doing something wrong if I admit that I don't have it all together.  I was so nervous the other day when I thought Sarah was going to be re-intubated, I got sick.  It did not occur to me until the next day to tell anyone that I was nervous.  

It is not easy.  Is it supposed to be easy?

I cannot imagine that I am supposed to set aside my fears and my worries.  Can I give them to God?  I am working on it.  I know that when I have prayed for peace, I have felt peace- in spite of all my worries. Where is the line is between trusting in the Lord to provide and making sensible choices for myself and my family?  

There isn't a line.  When we are listening to God and following His plan, we can simply trust.  He does care about the little things- all of them.  What is the light burden?  It certainly is not a promise that nothing will go wrong and life will go smoothly.  I think the key is in the middle of the verse.  "...learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart..."  Learn from Him.

It is not a matter of setting aside things that you cannot set aside, like the pain of loving someone in pain or the necessity of finding ways to provide.  It is not a matter of choosing to be positive in the face of difficulty.  It is not a matter of anything we do or don't do at all.  

The rest offered is found in humility.  Giving God our troubles does not mean that they go away.  It means that He will show us how to face them.  When it is hard, He will lead and lift and love.  It is hard when we take hold in arrogance, when we claim the battle which we have no hope of winning.  When we face the same battle as the footman, not the leader, it is easier.  Especially when the leader is an all-loving, all-powerful God.  

I do not know what the next few years will hold.  I do not know what the next few days will hold.  

The easy yoke is not a promise that life will be easy.  It is a promise that God will carry me.  When we talk about laying our burdens at the foot of the cross, we cannot imagine that they will disappear.  Through the power of God's love for us, our burdens unite us to His Son.  He has the strength, and we have Him.  With humbled hearts, our burdens take shape as road signs on the narrow path toward God.  

And, maybe we can have a little Port along the way.  

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