A famous American explorer who spent a couple of years among the savages of the upper Amazon, once attempted a forced march through the jungle. The party made extraordinary speed for the first two days, but on the third morning, when it was time to start, the explorer found the natives sitting on their haunches, looking very solemn and making no preparation to leave.
“They are waiting,” the chief explained to the explorer. “They cannot move farther until their souls have caught up with their bodies.”
Humans are interesting beings.
We keep moving because we are afraid to stop.
We keep moving because we want to impress our boss, our friends, our peers.
We keep moving because if we slow down, we will have to deal with our soul (our inner most thoughts and feelings), and that can be a scary thing.
To numb the emotions of the past, the frustrations of the present and the fears of the future , we ignore our soul (the real part of us) and we work harder and faster, hoping that we can outrun and outpace all those feelings.
When it comes to soul fatigue, Jesus offers some comforting, words when he says, “Come to Me all you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.”
Jesus offers something very counterintuitive.
He says, “Come to me.” He doesn’t say come to religion or follow a pastor or join a denomination or follow a set of self-help principles.
He says, “Come to Me.” It’s about a relationship with the creator of the universe.
We are a people desperate for soul rest! Yet we seek rest for our souls in strange ways. We eat more, drink more, escape more, we even move around more hoping we can ignore our tired soul. We read self-help books hoping that we will find some magic formula. We are hoping that somewhere within us, we can muster up enough strength to make it through the day.
Yet again, this is the promise God spoke through his prophet Isaiah, “God gives power to those who are tired and worn out and He offers strength to the weak. Those who wait on the Lord will find new strength.”
The first thing that I notice about this promise is God offers me a new strength. It is not an old strength that just gets a little stronger. It is a supernatural strength.
But the hard part is how we get it. We get it by waiting. “Wait on the Lord.”
Human beings are not very good waiters! We hate to wait at airports, on freeways, in supermarkets, in relationships. We want everything right now!
Jesus said simply, “Come to me.” No other qualifications.
Secondly he says, “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.”
What is a yoke? I grew up in the city, so for years I kind of missed this metaphor.
For those of us who did not grow up on farms. A yoke is a wooden beam that attaches two farm animals together to lighten the load so they can work together as a team.
Why does Jesus use this symbol? Well, one reason is because a yoke was a symbol of sharing the load. King David wrote, “Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders. He’ll carry your load and He’ll help you out.”
But I think more importantly, a yoke is a symbol of sharing a common goal.
When we yoke up with Jesus’ purpose to heal broken hearts, feed the hungry, bring justice to the abused, love those who have been judged and offer hope for those who have given up, we will discover a pace of life that is energizing and sustainable.
“Come to me” and “yoke up with me”. Two simple antidotes to soul fatigue.
“Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.”
― Augustine of Hippo