My small group leader asked if I would lead our group while she was away. It was first Wednesday, so all it required was meeting the ladies for dinner and sitting with them at church. No problem, right. Except, only one woman was coming and I was tired. I could let her know I wouldn’t make it. It would be okay. Right?
It was one of those times when I knew He wanted me to show up. Even though I wasn’t sure why. As we ate and got to know one another better, a chill came over me. It happened at least three times as we were discussing the upcoming service. I asked if she was going, thinking there might still be a chance to back out. She said yes, dagnabbit.So off we went. We sat close to the front (and right in the middle). Worship was powerful, as always. Then, this young guy from Yakima, WA. began to preach. His message was based on Matthew 11:28-30.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.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.”
He said some of us believe God forgave us our sins when we first came to know Him but as we got further in our Christian walk, we somehow thought Jesus wouldn’t forgive our current sins. Those things we do even though we know better. We think, How can God use me now? And we stop short of all He calls us to because we’ve got sin we think He won’t forgive.
That’s when my tears began.
He went on to say that some of us still live with the shame of something we did when we were nine or ten. We pull back from where God wants us to be because we are still carrying the weight of that shame on our backs. Nobody knows about it because we’ve gotten so good at faking it. And we will carry that thing to the grave.
Did he come all this way just to preach to me?
He finished by saying some of us have allowed sorrow to keep us from God’s best. Sorrow of a child who went astray even though they were raised better. Miscarriages, diagnoses, death and not the healing we prayed for, marriages on the rocks. Things we had not planned on and did not see coming — sorrow.
How did he know?
This man from the other side of the country knew the exact struggles and questions I had been asking God about that very week! God, can you forgive me? I know I keep messing this up. And that thing from way back then that you have already forgiven, why can’t I let it go? And really God, what is with all this sorrow? Where are you?
As the preacher wrapped up, he looked right in my eyes and said that he didn’t know how or when, but God was going to lighten my load. If I would earnestly come and leave my heavy burdens at the cross, He would give me rest from my struggle and worry. God sent that man to tell me if I stop faking it, God will fix it.
The cross was not meant to keep people out, it is an invitation to come in.
Jesus says, “Just come.”
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Hey there friend! Andrea McCaskey here. I believe everything happens for a reason, life is meant to be lived in relationship with others and there is beauty to be found everywhere if we look. I am a friend of God, wife of Jamal and mother of Brandon and Madison.
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