Most, if not all of us, have been there. Life makes a left turn when we thought we should have been headed straight ahead. What’s going on? Is this just a bump along life’s pathway or is it more serious than that? We envisioned life as a family person, involved in what we thought was going to be a fulfilling marriage that would last a lifetime. But not today! Yes, our married lives have taken a left turn into dysfunction, despair, anger, and hopelessness. Yes, our marriages are down for the ten count, headed for the garbage dump. We wonder how we got here? What can we do? Who will help us? We cry out… “God, help me because I can’t do this alone!”
“Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and the malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” Isaiah 58:9-10
“Come to me and I will give you rest—all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear my yoke—for it fits perfectly—and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens.” Matthew 11:28 (TLB)
From Isaiah, we read that when we cry out for help, the Lord hears us and He will answer. He sees our situations, knows and feels our pain. And He has some good advice for us… strip ourselves of our yoke of oppression, a yoke that we helped place upon our marriages. Think back to recent events in your marriage, to the fights, to the ‘pointing finger’ and to the ‘malicious talk’ and you will get a partial picture of the events that brought you to this crossroads in your marriage. I know that I did this same reflecting. Breaking these bad, malicious habits will take time; for most of us, we need the help of the Holy Spirit to guide us each step of the way.
Isaiah goes on to say that we need to help provide for our family (encouragement, food, shelter, understanding, and yes, love). These things will help turn our pathway toward meeting the needs of the ‘oppressed’, those needs of our spouse and our family. Know this, that God smiles when we get the message. He will heal your spirit as He lifts you out of the darkness of your soul and you will soon shine forth with the light of noonday into the darkness of your world. This will not happen overnight, but with Father God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit walking with you, you will survive if you will just put your trust in Them.
The Matthew 11:28 verse from The Living Bible includes parts that are found in verses 29 and 30 in other translations. Jesus is speaking. He understands that life is difficult, things and our plans have gone astray. After all, living as a fully human man, Jesus knew and suffered many of the hurts and frustrations that we experienced in our family lives and in our marriages. Remember, from time to time in His own ministry, He was rejected: by His family, His disciples, His followers. He understands us. Jesus says: “Come to me and I will give you rest…” He sees the burden of the discord in our families and how we are trying to stand up under the yoke of hurts, fights, false accusations, betrayal, you name it. It is indeed a heavy yoke!
Odd as it may seem, Jesus invites us to accept His yoke for it fits perfectly. Don’t get angry at this because Jesus sees this as teaching moment. He is not angry or frustrated with you. He takes us in His loving arms and comforts us. And as He does that, we find in Him, a humble friend, a humble Brother. With love, He dries our tears, takes away our anger and our hurt leaving us with a peace in our heart and soul. Oh Happy Day!
Oh Happy Day! Yes, Jesus can lighten our load by giving each of us hope. We need only to ask Him in faith. Our Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) can give each of us a peace that passes all understanding. I know this to be true, for shortly after receiving the divorce petition from my wife, I cried out to God that I did not know how I was going to deal with this hurt: the death of the loving relationship I once enjoyed with my wife. The Holy Spirit spoke to me that day (after church friends prayed over me) and He gave me a most wonderful gift, a peace unlike I had ever experienced before. And years later, that same peace is still alive and well in me. That peace has carried me through many major events in my life without worry, for my Triune God was with me, each step of the way.
My message today is this… when your marriage and family burdens are more than you can bear, cry out to the One Who knows and understands your hurts. Cry out to Jesus. He is just waiting for you to acknowledge Him as Helper, Counselor, and Friend. You will be surprised what He can accomplish if you will just ask in faith!
Standing firm upon the covenant marriage vows that my wife and I exchanged before God, until we are parted by death.
Ben in Texas