Praying In Crisis: A Beautiful Exchange

May 6, 2016

 

Crisis, heartache, and misfortune happens to the best of us. They're are a result of the fallen world we live in. Job loss, death of a loved one, financial strain, a stalling career are just a few pitfalls in life that can have a negative spiraling effect on our physical, mental, and spiritual health. When we experience circumstances that can rock us to the core, light and joy can seem like a fading, ungraspable dream.  What do we do from here? If you’re someone who doesn’t believe in standing by and doing nothing as life crumbles all around you, then your first move is probably to try to rectify the situation yourself. You may do extensive research, take on extra work/hours, or try to completely reinvent yourself. Kudos to you for taking such initiative! However…. Your first move was the wrong move. The first (and immediate) thing to do is to PRAY.

 

I’ve heard people say, “A prayer a day keeps the devil away!”. Yeah... Not really. Think about it, who is in charge of all the existence of the universe? God is. That also means he is in charge of the forces that create your hardships. You can only see what is literally right in front of you in the time and space that you occupy. You weren’t built to move mountains or wave magic wands, but God was. Therefore, you should be getting into the habit of relinquishing this “power” that we think we have or that society tells us to exercise. It’s not real. Let go of the reigns that you don’t actually have anyway.

 

I understand the inclination to take care of your own problems. Especially if you’re a go-getter, it’s only natural that you want to fix the things in your life that are broken. However, spinning your wheels and exerting energy to rectify a mess (that either you made with your own human instincts or that you had absolutely no control over) does little to help you move forward. The Bible says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). When you’re in the middle of a crisis, you need God’s goodness and His gifting, not your limited influence.

 

Making the exchange

 

“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)

 

Jesus is very direct with what he wants you to do while you’re in a crisis. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  If we come to him when we are overwhelmed, stressed out, anxious, and in despair, he will meet us and give us what we need to move forward.

 

 “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.” What does it mean to take upon the yoke of the Lord? First, let’s define what a yoke is:

 

 

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a yoke as:

 

  •  “a bar or frame that is attached to the heads or necks of two work animals (such as oxen) so that they can pull a plow or heavy load”

 

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  • “something that causes people to be treated cruelly and unfairly especially by taking away their freedom”

 

 

The crisis you’re facing is your yoke- a heavy force around your neck. Take a good look at this image. Does this look like something you can easily take off? Absolutely not. The yoke has to be removed by someone else. Jesus has offered to be one to remove it. When he invites you to take on his burden, he is telling you to walk in His ways, obey His word, and allow Him to guide you.

 

The Bible also says:

 

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 5:22)

 

God protects those who belong to him. By having faith in Him and walking away from sin, you are practicing righteousness. If you’re in the middle of a crisis, give the situation back to the Lord. Think of “casting” in the same way you would in fishing. Casting a fishing rod requires throwing the line away from you.  This verse is literally saying to get that thing away from you! Stop hoarding or carrying that burden so that the Lord has the room to deal with it. Don’t concern yourself with how He’s going to do it. He’s God, after all. Only concern yourself with Him – pressing into Him, listening to Him, loving on Him.

 

I have come upon several periods of crisis in my life ranging from depression, loss of a parent, financial setbacks, broken hearts, career dissatisfaction, and the quarter life crisis. The turning point in each of these situations was giving my burdens to God in prayer. I get on my knees and say,

 

“Thank You, Lord for who you are, what you’ve done, and what you’re going to do. I’m struggling with the weight of this problem which I now give to you. Have your will and your way with it. Help me to trust you in this process.”

 

Did the intricacies of the circumstance creep back up into my thoughts from time-to-time? Yes. However, I gave those thoughts to the Lord, and focused on Him through His Word, fellowship, and worship instead. Refocusing on Him not only took the sting of the circumstance away, but, it also allowed me to see His glory as He was working it out in His way. Eventually, He blessed my circumstances and strengthened me to be a more effective follower in His kingdom.

 

So I challenge you today to give God a try and lean on Him instead of yourself.

 

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