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.
My in-laws also warn me about the dangers on the island. Marilyn advises wearing flip flops or water shoes while walking the beach. A few years ago she experienced the painful and bloody consequence of stepping on a catfish barb. While taking a trip through Ding Darling nature preserve, Ron shared the importance of keeping a safe distance from the alligators.
The one thing I don’t do is join Marilyn for her early morning swim in the pool. The first morning I was nestled in the corner of the couch with my Bible and a steaming cup of coffee, when Marilyn asked, “Are you sure you don’t want to join me for a swim?” “No thanks,” I said. She opened the door wall and glanced toward the beach, “Well then, the sun is just coming up, you should go down to the beach and watch the sunrise.”
Last year I always slept in and missed watching the sunrise, so I decided to take Marilyn’s advice. I put a hoodie on over my pajamas, topped off my coffee, and headed for the beach. Arriving several minutes before the sun came over the horizon, the beach was surprisingly awake with activity. Unlike most Florida beaches I’ve visited, Sanibel does not “sweep” their beaches. They contain all the treasures the Golf Coast has to offer which attract birds and beachcombers alike. “One more day,” mumbled the gentlemen as he walked by bent over in the familiar Sanibel Stoop. He was cherishing his last morning of shelling in the orange dawn, but sadly he was oblivious to the cresting sun.
Submitting to my in-laws and allowing them to be in control of my vacation has proven to be a very relaxing and enjoyable experience. Not to mention educational, and following Marilyn's advice to watch the sunrise resulted in a special blessing. A brilliant, golden-orange display, hand painted by my Creator. If I hadn’t been up already, I would not have had the opportunity to receive the blessing God had planned for me my first morning of vacation. I was already up because I had submitted to God’s instruction to be still and "Come to me." In the past, I’ve never maintained my morning devotion time while on vacation. In hindsight, it seems absurd not to put God first when the primary reasons for vacationing is to be refreshed and renewed. I had been trying to achieve rest by disconnecting with the One, who promises rest when we come to Him.
The term yoke has many negative definitions. Yoke in Matthew 11:29-30 carries the connotation of a beneficial partnership. Submitting to God and becoming yoked with Christ promises divine instruction, light work, and rest for our souls. Letting go of our need to be in control requires us to trust Christ. When we come to Him in Scripture, He teaches us ways to live that result in hope and joy filled human experience. He teaches us what dangers we are to avoid from the lure of our fleshly desires and the devil's schemes to tempt us. Trusting Ron and Marilyn and linking my vacation with theirs not only keeps me safe but resulted in a wonderfully active yet restful vacation. Can you imagine enjoying apple fritters, key lime pie, wine and more candy bars than I care to admit yet losing two pounds? Seems impossible doesn’t it? Linking my vacation to my in-laws provided the perfect balance of activity and relaxation.
Submitting to God and making time with Him a priority offers the incredible benefit of being yoked to our Savior, who is gentle and humble in heart. Christ's load is light compared to the anxieties of living life in our strength. Staying connected to Christ also provides divine protection and guidance. And as we submit to the instruction and experience the benefits of God’s protection, our faith grows.
with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Dear Heavenly Father, when I am tired and loaded down with anxieties may I remember that You patiently call, "Come to me." Remind me that Your gentle embrace awaits when I practice being still in Your presence. Increase my faith as I learn of Your faithfulness recorded for eternity in the pages of Scripture. Bless me with contentment and rest for my soul as I take Your yoke upon me and submit to Your call on my life. May I trust that You are humble in heart and will gently guide me in a hope-filled life, and the joy of knowing my salvation is safe in Your hands through faith in Jesus Christ. In Your precious name, Amen.