I just love the Word of God! And I just love how the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see so much more in familiar passages, proving all over again that the Word truly is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). Take for example, Matthew 11:28-30, which I include in both the NIV and the Amplified versions.
NIV “28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Amplified “28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will tease and relieve and refresh your souls.] 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. 30 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good – not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.”
This passage is one to which I am frequently led by the Holy Spirit. When I apply it, releasing the burdens I have been carrying on my own, I do, indeed, find His rest once again. Recently, though, the Lord helped me see in a different way, which makes it even more alive for me. As I am preparing to lead a team to China at the end of March, the details – even for a detail-oriented person – have become somewhat overwhelming to me. In a time of prayer concerning the trip and the people going, not even focusing on personal details at that moment, the Lord asked me the simple question, “Will you rest?”
I responded as honestly as I could with the following, as recorded in my journal: “I will only rest if You help me, because I don’t know how, Lord. I’m unable on my own. Yes, Lord. I’ll take Your yoke upon me and learn of You. You said, ‘Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ Lord, I’m coming to You. I choose not to do this my way, but Yours. I lay my yoke down, for it’s much too heavy for me (or anyone), and is designed to oppress and wear me out. I choose Your yoke and Your burden – for me – and I walk in Your peace and rest, even in the busy days and times.”
His response came into my heart, giving additional revelation of this part of His Word: “Wear it as a mantle, Kay. Yes, it’s a cloak, not a hard piece of wood that rubs blisters and leaves splinters, cuts, scars. My yoke and My burden actually cover and protect you as you walk with Me – even in times of hard work and effort. That’s how you stay in My peace and rest.”
I’ve always pictured myself taking off the heavy yoke and letting Jesus put His easy yoke over my shoulders with Him carrying the weight of it. The yoke I pictured, though, was the still the same kind – a big beam of heavy and rough wood. How wrong I’ve had it! His yoke for me is actually a mantle, the cloak of His anointing – His grace – perfectly fitted to me and enabling me to do what He has called me to do! Staying within the covering of His yoke helps me learn of Him, which keeps me protected in His peace, no matter what goes on around me. This is how to rest in Him! This is how to live in His peace!