Patricia Hofer

“Self must step aside…”

Hannah Whitall Smith wrote: “Self must step aside to let God work. (“The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life,” 184)
There was a time in my life when I took comfort in my righteousness, in the feeling that I was doing the right things and being what God wanted me to be. But the confidence I gained from these efforts faded, along with the sense of comfort I was seeking. …… As Jesus says: “Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, 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” (NRSV Matt: 11: 28-30).
George MacDonald offers what I think is quite an amazing explanation of Jesus’ demand. He says that the yoke Jesus is carrying, which we couldn’t carry at all really, becomes easy and light to us only as we let the Lord carry it for us. MacDonald wrote: “He [Jesus] is not saying, ‘The yoke I lay upon you is easy, the burden light.’ What he says is, ‘The yoke I carry is easy, the burden on my shoulders is light’ (Unspoken Sermons, 2nd series, “Self Denial.”). … When I started writing, having no confidence in my ability to be what the Lord needed me to be, I was consumed with worry. … I kept asking him, “Please Lord, what should I do? What should I say? How can I know what the need is?” And then the most resounding and comforting answer came in a two-word command: “Move over.” And on that particular day, I did. [drawn from “Driving into the Dawn,” chapter 16. ©️ 2007]

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