A Detour Worth Taking

Posted: November 12, 2012 by clairer in God's Faithfulness, Trusting God

The other day, I was visiting my younger brother’s college campus to pick up books from his college’s library for a research project. After picking up about 40 lbs. of books and shoving them into my backpack, I met him on the main floor of the library. Being the sweet young gentleman that he is, he immediately reached out and shouldered my heavy backpack for me. As we walked back through his campus so that I could bring him home for the weekend, we were struck with a bit of a dilemma. I needed to pick up the car in the parking garage…and he needed to go get his luggage from his dorm room. Either we were going to have to split up and go our separate ways — in which case I’d have to walk alone and carry my heavy backpack again.  Or, I’d have to walk with my brother, out of my way to his dorm, while he continued to carry my load.  Honestly, the choice wasn’t too difficult.  I decided to take the detour rather than lug my books to my car.

While it ended up being a fairly simple choice to change my route to walk along with my brother so he could carry my books, I find it difficult, at times, to yield my way to God so I can walk alongside Him.

Midterms are over now, but paper and forensic tournament season has arrived. Toward the end of the semester, one of my favorite verses always is Matthew 11:28-30:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

These verses always serve as a good reminder that God is willing and able to carry my load and give me rest.

Recently, though, I’ve been under a lot of stress. Between tests, papers, upcoming moot court tournaments, and falling behind in school due to a long illness, I’ve got a lot on my plate and on my mind. Feeling weighed down, I turned to this verse and wondered…why isn’t my burden light like this verse promises?

The answer came to me in the form of Jerry Bridge’s book Trusting God. In one chapter, Bridges notes:

I once attended a seminar on the subject of Christians and stress.  One of the speaker’s main points was that, if we want to live less stressful lives, we must learn to live with a single agenda: God’s agenda….God is sovereign over people.  He will move their hearts to cause them to do His will, or He will restrain them from doing anything contrary to His will.  But, it is His will, His agenda for our lives, that God will guard, protect, and advance.  We must learn to live by His agenda if we are to trust Him.

That was my problem, I realized. Like my walk with my brother, I was faced with a dilemma. If I am to be yoked with God – if He is to carry my load and give me peace – one thing is required: I have to be going the same direction. Stress comes from choosing to carry pressures myself. We have a choice between two ways: walking alone or walking with God. God only walks on God’s path in His way. If we go His way, He’ll carry the weight of the pressure (as He shares our yoke). But if we decide to go our way, we’re left to carry the load alone.

With all my pressures and tasks, the stress was coming because I wanted things to go my way. I wanted to ace the test. I wanted to write the perfect paper. I wanted to win in Moot Court. By insisting on my own way, I was forcing myself to carry the heavy load. Rather than prayerfully giving my burdens to God and trusting Him for the outcome (going His way), I’ve been figuratively “heading straight to the parking garage carrying my own load of books.”

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Like my little brother – and, obviously, so much more so – God  is right there to carry my load…if I just choose to go along with Him. While I may resist the “detour”  from the route I’ve plotted out for myself, if I want rest, peace, and joy, God’s way is the only option.

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