by Sandra Conner (Radical About Jesus Ministries)
“Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
The Message translation interprets part of this passage as follows: “Come to me. Get away with me, and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Are you struggling with “trying” to get healed? Are you “working hard” at it? Have you prayed and thanked the Lord for His work, but find that you are still out of rest and feeling pressed and stressed to “get” healed? Then QUIT trying; QUIT straining; QUIT “working” at it.
This verse is for you. It’s for those who are “laboring” to get healed as well as those who are laboring in any other endeavor in life. We do not have to struggle to get healing from the Lord. In fact we don’t even have to “try.” All we have to do is ask and believe. It seems to be the “believing” part that causes most of the problem though. When we are really believing God, we are in a state of rest. In fact, in Hebrews, chapters 3 and 4, the Lord has a good deal to say about how the Israelites were refusing to believe Him and obey his Word to go freely into the promised land and trust Him to defeat the enemies there. He says clearly that their failure to believe Him enough to act on His Word kept them from getting into a state of rest. And as a result, kept them from receiving what they needed. He then tells us that all of this account has been recorded for our learning
So let’s learn. Verse 10 of chapter 4 tells us, “For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” You see, if we will stop laboring to do the “work” of getting healed ourselves, but will do the only work God gave us to do – believe – we will come into His rest. “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” (John 6:29). But remember, dear one, true believing is not in the head, but in the heart. It is so deep-seated that it moves us to act on what we believe. It moves us to confess and to act on God’s Word even when everything else around us says we should not.
“But,” you may say to me, “you personally wrote an article about taking the Word of God as medicine and making sure we read it several times a day. Isn’t that a kind of work?” I did, indeed, write such an article. But that concept is not intended to be a burden of labor for us. Sitting down with God’s Word and absorbing it into our bodies and souls is not “work.” If we find that it is labor, then it is because we do not yet believe that the Word truly is our God-prescribed medicine. If we did, taking it into ourselves would be a joy and a rest. If we go to a human doctor, and he gives us an antibiotic and says to take one three times a day, we don’t consider taking that pill as “work” or “labor,” do we? Of course not. And neither is taking God’s medicine “work.
Furthermore, if we believe that the Word is God’s personal letter to us and that it can be trusted to give us all that we need, reading it every day would give us rest and peace continually. But if you find that you do not believe, dear one, do not despair! Because the more you do read the Word, the more it will create faith in you. Then you will believe it, and reading it will no longer be a task of labor, but a respite and refreshing.
But we must come to the place that we understand and believe that the healing we seek for our bodies is already accomplished by Jesus’ redemptive work. Isaiah says, “By His stripes, we are healed.” (Is. 53:6). Peter says, after the crucifixion and resurrection, “By His stripes, we were healed.” In God’s mind and heart, it is done, dear one. Now come to Him in faith and snuggle up to Him (He’s in His Word, you know), praising Him in peace until the manifestation comes.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 11 that He is “meek and gentle.” The word meek is so often misunderstood by modern-day man. There is another “M” word that gets so much attention these days that many people fail to appreciate the true meaning of meekness. The word “macho” is the adjective so many in our society equate with strength and masculinity – so much so that when someone refers to a “meek” man, he is thought to be weak and ineffectual. Not so. The true definition of meekness is the quality of having great strength and power that is leashed and kept under rein so that it demonstrates itself only when called for and then only for good and not for evil. For Jesus to define Himself as “meek and gentle” means that He is capable of using His unequaled power any time He wills to do so, but that He wills to do so only when it will help those He loves or promote the Kingdom of God on this earth.
Another translation renders these words as “humble and gentle.” So what does the word “humble” tell us? Well, Jesus is a King, is He not? And when a king is humble it means two things: He is easily accessible, and He is easy to be entreated for His help and favors. Jesus is so easily entreated. When He walked the earth, every person who came to him for healing or help of any kind found Him willing, eager, even yearning to meet their needs. He’s the same today. The Lord whose strength carried Him through the most horrible beatings and the worst kind of death on our behalf – to set us free from the punishment we deserved – is the Lord who now wants to use His power to help us receive all the benefits of that ultimate sacrifice. And those benefits include healing for our bodies.
In these verses from Matthew, He also calls us to be yoked together with Him. When two oxen are yoked together it is so that they will pull together – always going the same direction, at the same speed, and with the same degree of leverage. That’s what Jesus wants for us: that, being yoked to Him, we will always be going the same direction, at the same speed that He is. We will not be pulling a heavy burden, straining and trying desperately in our own strength to get to something that is always just beyond our reach. We will just be moving along with Him, comfortably and joyfully, knowing that, yoked to the one who “always causes us to walk in victory,” we can’t miss getting to the desired result. And that includes getting to the manifestation of our healing.
So if you’ve been struggling, straining, laboring – stop it. Just get into God’s healing, life-giving Word and settle down into it until you are at rest. “Come to Me. Get away with Me, and you’ll recover your life.” (Matt. 11:28, The Message).