He walked into the floral shop with a dual agenda. The outward one was to find a memorial wreath in the favorite color of his late wife. The hidden one was to find a way to unload his burden.
His story was long, sad and filled with bitterness. He talked without pausing and finally requested that a wreath displayed in the store be duplicated in the selected color. It ended amiably and he was assured it would be ready at the set time.
The appointed time came and the wreath was ready and waiting as he walked through the door. He was greeted with a smile and his purchase was brought to him. Though it had been arranged exactly like the display and in the color he selected, he became outraged. Nothing about it was to his liking. His anger spilled over to everyone around him and in his ranting, his heart surfaced. “She deserves better than this. It should have been larger. Money is no object; I can afford anything.” And there it was. His fury had nothing to do with flowers; it was about power. He hurt. His wife was gone and all his money couldn’t save her. It could buy doctors, but not a cure. It could secure the finest services and products, but not peace. It could offer status, but not hope. It could provide a living, but not life. And so he barked punishing words for lack of peace.
The tangible thing of beauty he sought was meant to ease his burden, but it turned out to be insufficient, for his deepest need wasn’t a wreath, it was a yoke. Jesus tells us so. “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.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
There are many burdens that are just too heavy for us to carry alone. Persisting on our own causes a search for ways to lighten the load. Some try easing their pain with drugs or alcohol, some run from them with endless activities and some try to overpower them with money and status. But none of it works. At best, we find temporary fixes, but no lasting comfort. We need a burden-bearer; we need Jesus. When we confess the sin of self and acknowledge our need of the Savior, Jesus comes alongside to lift our load with His love. Though we won’t be free of earthly trials, the Christ who is both mighty and merciful, promises that He will ease our burdens through the power of His Spirit.
Scripture instructs us to “take hold of life that is truly life”. (1 Timothy 6:19) Jesus is life. In Him we are given the ability to endure because our hope moves beyond the riches and comforts offered by this world and focuses on God who richly provides us with everything, including peace in our sorrows. Putting hope in anything else leaves us angry and empty.
The world around us is filled with hurting people shouting abuses for lack of peace. All the while Jesus offers His yoke. Are you willing to slip it on? A relationship with Him eases the terrible loads we cannot bear so that life is not only endured, it is secured. The temporary burdens of earth will give way to eternal joy for Christ is preparing a place for those who believe in Him … and there, flowers will never again be constructed to mark a grave.