Part 9 of my story

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

This morning I want to slip in a small part of my story for you, out of sequence, prompted in response to great heaviness in my heart about the bad situations in our world today. I had been talking with a person who deeply feels the hopelessness of it all and is severely depressed by it.

I don’t listen to the news as often as I should, so I felt troubled and burdened too, in a way that doesn’t happen too often for me. The words in the Scripture above, one that had always helped me with my inner struggles, came immediately to mind. “Come to me . . .” Such a comfort those words are, as they always have been for me!

Long ago Jesus revealed Himself to me at a time when I had great needs. I had been stressed out by illness, trying to cope with it on my own but failing. My world was chaotic. I so needed peace! I longed for Jesus. This Scripture spoke powerfully to me and I listened eagerly. How I needed to hear those words!

The Scripture reminded me of the Fireside Chat I gave in July 2006 at Sacred Space, a New Age boutique in Vancouver. Isabella Mori, a mental health advocate, had invited me to speak about how my faith helped me with my mental illness. She said it would be an interview, with me responding to her questions. Such an opportunity!

My pastor at the time, Don Dyck, impressed the importance of this talk on me by quoting Romans 10:14-15. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

“You have beautiful feet,” he told me.

Besides Isabella and a friend and me, there were five in attendance. When the time came to begin, Isabella introduced me and then . . . she just invited me to begin talking! It didn’t turn out to be an interview after all! What should I do? I didn’t have anything prepared.

Fortunately I had my Bible with me and Matthew 11:28-30, my favorite passage of all time came easily to mind. I read the verses and spoke freely and eagerly about what coming to Christ and following Him had meant to me. No hesitation. I was in love with the Jesus the verses spoke about, grateful for how He had given me rest from the struggles I faced. The talk went well. I thanked God for giving me the courage to speak.

One person in the group contacted me later, wanting to know more about what I had read. We had some good chats by email and a relationship developed. How good God is to cause such things to happen!

But the Scripture did a lot more than help me with my need for rest and comfort. Through it Jesus also offered me an opportunity to give to Him. “For my yoke is easy,” He said. Jesus assured me that serving Him was perfectly doable, even for a person like me, a person with severe problems.

To think we can work with Jesus, without it being too heavy a burden . . . ! To think we can serve, and yet live “freely and lightly . . . !” How I longed for such a Lord!! And how I welcomed such a life!

In his book, Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God, Henry Blackaby says the following:

When you abide in Christ, you will be amazed at what God accomplishes through your life . . . Jesus’ invitation is for you to join up with Him—to walk alongside Him and follow His lead. When you labor where He is already at work, He accomplishes His purposes through you. The experience is not meant to be exhausting or burdensome, but exhilarating and fulfilling.

The Lord doesn’t send us off like an errand boy. He intends to accompany us on the journey. He wants us to continually heed His voice and go with Him one day at a time. As long as we walk daily with Christ, we will always know where to be—right beside Him—and we will always end up where He wants us to be.

I had confidence then. And it all came from my enthusiasm about Jesus. I know I still have it, though the light inside me has grown dimmer.