Patricia Hofer

Christ carries the heavy loads.

When we learn that something isn’t going to be our responsibility or isn’t going to be as bad as we thought it might be, we say, “That relieves my mind.” But our mind doesn’t stay relieved very long, at least mine never has. That’s because we humans are born with the constant drive to control and manage things—our health, our friends and family, our money and career, and even our society and government. So our consciousness is a busy place!

Where we get into trouble, though, is when we try to manage, or think we can manage, our relationship with God. I did that. My denominational believing had encouraged me to rely on my own thinking—to control my life by controlling my thoughts. And so, the more difficult things got, the more stubborn and self-reliant I became. I finally had to learn that God wasn’t going to give me the job just because I relentlessly asked Him to. And God wasn’t going to change others for my purposes, no matter how much I studied and prayed about it. Eventually, after years of stubborn willfulness, I surrendered.

As Jesus says, “you must accept the kingdom of God as if you were a child” (NCV Luke 18:17). Small children know that there are many things beyond their control. But that’s not true for adults. The more control we think we have, the more stubborn and egotistical we become. We can be knocked down, wobbling there on all fours, but still refusing to let go—still giving God advice.

What I now know is that the Lord is waiting in each of those willful moments of struggle, saying, “Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” (NCV Matt. 11:28). Oh, the wonder and relief of yielding, of childlikeness!

Please, Lord, Relieve my mind from managing The tasks I must or would do. Turn stubborn will into yielding To wonder that comes from you. (Living Calm 2016)

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