27 "All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Anyone who has seen me on campus knows that I have a huge, heavy, floral-patterned backpack I carry wherever I go. Because I'm off campus, I have to carry a lot with me when I go to school. It was a very generous gift from my mother, and despite her loving search for a backpack I could roll behind me, I usually carry it on my back anyway because it's easier when I have a lot to carry.
In this season of exams, life transitions, and anticipation for the future, we can become overwhelmed by burdens of expectation. We give ourselves self-imposed regulations and timelines for our school, our careers, and our relationships that are almost always inevitably changed or broken. This knowledge of potential failure can weigh heavier than the physical weight on my back. Growing up, I would hear the advice to “leave your burdens at the cross”. The literal interpretation of this statement felt detached and empty. I would imagine myself walking to a splintery, empty cross, trying to pull off the burdens I carried to shove up against the base and walk away.
But Jesus does not tell us to leave our burdens at the cross. He tells us to come to him when we are burdened, and he will give us rest. The burdens Jesus describes are the things we perceive to be unknown; feeling troubled for our future and fearful of the consequences of our actions. Jesus offers rest from these burdens in exchange for the yoke he places on us - the work of trusting in his plan for our lives completely. Often, instead of allowing Jesus to give us welcome rest from our burdens, we carry it on anyway because it's easier to trust ourselves even though we are imperfect. In the previous verse, Matt. 11:27, he says “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Jesus is in complete control regardless of our circumstances or feelings, and the comfort in his faithfulness to care for us is greater than any earthly plan we can make for ourselves. If you give your faith and trust to him, he promises he will give you rest from the earthly burdens of the world. If you feel heavy this semester, over the summer, or onward, come to Jesus and ask him to relieve you. Tell him the specific worries and expectations you have for yourself, and have faith that he is listening and will give you peace when you trust in his love and control of your future.