The Reality of the ‘Light Yoke’
Christie Jean Saunders is a mother of four and author of the blog A Beautiful Window. In 2012, her son Bennet was born with half a heart. Next month, Bennet faces a precarious operation she and her doctors have known was coming since birth. On March 6, two days before Bennet was to undergo a preliminary procedure, a cardiac catheterization, Christie Jean wrote about fear and the “light yoke” offered by the Lord.
A year ago, almost exactly, we were being faced with a major surgery. And the reality of this had me in a really emotional place. I was feeling all the feels. I was struggling through so many thoughts and worries. And the honest truth is, I was kinda losing it. All the way up until we found out that the surgery would be postponed, I was a big ball of hot mess. With the postponement, I was given the opportunity to take a step back, breathe deeply and search my heart. The truth is, I came up wanting. Why had I allowed myself to walk down the path of uncontrolled emotions? Probably because no one would blame me for doing so. Our situation sucked (still sucks) and my feelings and actions were completely warranted — or at least they appeared to be.
But I could always hear the Holy Spirit’s soft voice ever so gently nudging me, reminding me of what God had promised me during my darkest days of Bennet’s infancy. The promise that joy would always find its way back into my heart. The promise that fear had no power over me in the presence of my heavenly Father (I blogged about that revelation here). The promise of peace and the reality of the “light yoke.” So in reality, I was wrong. I was wrong to lay down God’s promises and to pick up the fear I had already surrendered. I was wrong to make the upcoming surgery an all-consuming idol in my life. Even if no one else knew it, I was wrong.
So here we are, a year later, in the same exact place we were before. Though this time, surgery is most definitely coming. There will be no delaying. But it’s different. The time I’ve had to reflect has taught me that I have a choice, either to submit to the weakness of my flesh or to choose the light yoke.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
And perhaps this is what the world needs to see from me — this powerful truth that God has allowed me to learn? I’ll admit, it’s awfully nice being the center of people’s affections. I can’t deny that there is great temptation to find my strength in people and the emotional outpouring our story has the ability to evoke. What can I say — I am a drama queen at heart! But if God has done a work in me, let people see what He has done! If I have found deep joy in the midst of deep suffering, then let people see my joy! If God has given me the peace to be able to say, “It is Well with my Soul,” then let people see my peace! I need not return into the darkness from whence I came. Disclaimer: I am deeply grateful for the support and strength I have found from family and friends. I believe crying and laughing with one another are crucial facets of the way we were designed to function.
Does a light yoke mean there is no sadness? HECK NO! I know this first-hand. You bet the tears will be streaming when I hand my boy over to the surgeon, with the full knowledge I may never get him back. You bet I cry daily over what we are facing and the reality that this will not be the first or last time Bennet will be in a life or death situation. And I know each person reading this has known their own deep pain. The lightness I am speaking of is other-worldly. It does not come with understanding, or with the kind of resolution we desire. It comes with the surety that this world is not our home. It comes with the knowledge that there is One who loves and cherishes us more than anyone here on earth and that He is the only source of true hope.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
I know where my hope lies, where the source of my peace is, and where my strength comes from. Do you?
Note: Bennet flew through his cardiac catheterization with flying colors. We continue praying for Bennet and his family as he faces the next step in his incredible journey.
This article was originally published at A Beautiful Window, March 6, 2016 and is reprinted with permission.