Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.”

     Has the world beaten you down?  Are you tired of fighting to make headway against events and people that continually push you back?  Are you tired of fighting against yourself?  If you have nothing left but a broken heart, loneliness and disappointment and fear is pounding at your door then listen to His still small voice.  You have to pause, stop struggling and be still.

      When Elijah, after one of his greatest triumphs for the Lord, succumbed to fear and anxiety; he ran away to hide in a cave.  God whispered to him; ” . . ., and behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”  (1 Kings 19:11,12)   Over the tumult of the world, over the clamor of his inner doubts and fears – God’s ‘still small voice’ was calling Elijah out of his cave.  The cave is for hiding.  There is no rest in it; only an unholy communion with our torment.

     The heaviest burdens we carry are those spawned in our own minds.  They grow out of trauma and wounds.  They are but wisps and shadows in our memories yet their weight presses down upon our spirit, twisting our soul and crippling our emotions.  These wisps and shadows take on a life of their own; Rejection, Abuse and Fear are the names of some of them.   They all live in the cave with you.  They all lie.  Rejection insists; “You’re no good, nobody loves you.   You’ll never find anyone! You’ll never belong anywhere.”  Abuse snarls; “You’re bad, you’re ugly and stupid, pain and hurt is what you deserve.”  Fear gnaws; “Don’t risk it, you’ll be sorry.  You’ll fail and it will be your fault.  Don’t trust anyone.”   Over time the lies wear us down and our lives become an inner and outer struggle.  With one arm you’re fending off the cave shadows and with the other arm your pushing back against an indifferent and often hostile world.  You become exhausted!

     When I was in grade four I spent several weeks in a hospital being tested for mental retardation.  I was being bullied at school and the teacher was getting increasingly impatient with me as I was always in some kind of trouble in the school yard.  The kids said I couldn’t talk right.  What was really happening is that I was trying so hard to fit in and be accepted I was mixing up Danish with my English.  In my desperate desire to communicate I was picking Danish words that carried nuanced meanings that didn’t exist in English and vice versa.  The garbled outcome had the exact opposite effect from what I had hoped for.  I became an object of ridicule among the kids in the school.  Anyone who has been bullied knows that after the ridicule comes the beatings.  It got so bad I couldn’t sleep at night, my appetite left and I ended up pulling into my little child cave.  Shortly after, I found myself in the hospital putting together funny little puzzles with a nice lady timing me with a stop watch.

     The shadows that were spawned in my cave have never let up.  Daily the lying shadow voices accuse me of being stupid, never fitting in, not getting it, not saying the right things.  I can’t leave them at the ‘foot of the cross’ because they go where my head goes.  Today, my cave is bigger because I’m bigger but there is a little corner where the child still is and where it all started.  I know now that there is a way to overcome on a daily basis.  His name is Jesus.  He calls me out of the cave into His light.  Light is the only thing that will defeat the shadows.  His Word tells me that I’m worthy.  His Word tells me that I’m not stupid.    When I slip back into my cave, His Word comes with me and exposes the lies overcoming the shadows.  Jesus follows me into my cave and leads me out of it; ” . . . He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised . . .” (Luke 4:18)  His Word tells me that He loves me; “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” (Psalm 139:14)

      Gradually, His Word is shinning a pure light in all the corners of my cave exposing all the lies.   He’s not done with me yet; “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6)  His light will defeat all the shadows in my cave.  Jesus tells us; “. . . , If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31,32)

     He has set me free! 

     He can set you free!

     Praise the Lord!

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