Matthew 11:28-30. “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
Luke 11:1. “And it came to pass, that, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
Isaiah 40:29-31: “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
There is a weariness which has overtaken so many people on so many levels in today’s world. Many experience bodily, mental, and emotional weariness from working too long and too hard with little to look forward to except more of the same. The quality and additives of food available to many, the pollutants and contaminants in the air we breathe and the water we drink also add to the inability of the body to handle its demands in life, resulting in fatigue, disease, and cloudy minds. There is also weariness that comes from some of the choices we make – not living our lives in balance, the failure to make healthy adjustments in our food and drink choices, too much living in the fast lane, not getting the proper amount of sleep, exercise, or enjoyment, and generally not caring for these bodies which are designed to be the temples of the Holy Spirit.
And then there is the spiritual component, the main thing we as Christians have been called to deal with, and perhaps the chief reason – as far as we’re concerned – for all this weariness. That is the fact that our purpose here on earth has another responsibility to embrace, and that is the matter of spiritual warfare. This is of the utmost importance for anyone whom the Lord Jesus Christ has called out of this world’s priorities and philosophies in order to embrace His gifts, life, view, and directives.
Most of us understand these times as the last hurrah of the reign of evil on this earth. All the more reason for us to understand that we cannot engage the adversary of our souls, and of all life, in our own human mind/body strength, whims, or strategies. Of ourselves we are not equal to such in these days. All of these “opinions” come from our limited finite views of our little corner of the Big Picture. If we are led on by our self-will, at the end of the day that could very well take us down along with the rest of the secular world, as it participates in its own demise by its complicity with this present darkness. The world has nowhere to turn but to itself, nothing higher.
But for those of us who have been embraced by Christ, that is not acceptable, not good enough. And we know it. The 3 scripture passages included with today’s contemplations point us to the Lord Himself as our ultimate source of strength and wisdom. He is the infinite wellspring of both the necessary strategies for life and navigating the waters of the troubled times. He’s the vast eternal reservoir of our true strength. He will inspire us to do what we need to do and are called to do in this life within a world blind and mad in its disconnect from God! And He fills us with the Holy Spirit so that we are able.
The 3 texts quoted above essentially point us to one Great Teacher, the Lord God Himself. One old hymn has the cure: If we are weak – having come to the end of our own human strength, and basically backed up against a wall where there seems to be no way out – “take it to the Lord in prayer.” These passages reveal to us that God invites us to do so, for it is directly from Him that we receive the strength and the know how equal to the task! He makes us an offer we can’t refuse – to lay down our weariness, questions, and burdens in exchange for His divine strength and Wisdom. He teaches us how to pray effectively and efficiently, and to handle our challenges in the same manner. He is the source of supernatural strength when needed.
It is interesting in the passage from Isaiah that “ to mount up with wings as eagles” may actually be stated as “to sprout wings like eagles”! What a fantastic visual that is to take into our prayers, to see ourselves sprouting wings like eagles! Yet might it be that those wings cannot sprout without some wind turbulence and a sort of push out of the nest of comfort zones? Something right there to consider! That way we can see our troubles as the actual thing that may be necessary to provide lift and cause us to fly.
A key to this is the necessity of surrendering to the Lord what we think the outcome must look like or how we’re going to get there. For example, I have learned that if I try to carry my agendas into prayer, more weariness overtakes me – not only am I “fighting” evil, but I’m still carrying the load of how I think things ought to work out. It’s a somewhat hidden form of being confrontational toward God’s will and sovereignty.
Instead it is good when we lay all that down before Him whose eagle-eye perspective, high above all that is, means that the attitude of my praying is “not my will, Heavenly Father, but Thy will be done.” Thus we learn to pray in the perspective of the mind of Christ. God is no longer just the co-pilot when we back out of the way which means laying down self will. When we relinquish control to Him, then we have opened up the floodgates of the Almighty to bear upon whatever has beset us on any level. That’s divine intervention!
So perhaps we do well to heed the approach exemplified here by the disciples. We not only take all the troubles, worries, anxieties, doubts, weariness, etc. to the Lord in prayer, but we ask Him for our most basic need: “Lord, teach us/me to pray.”