“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
“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 11:27-30
“The definition reflects devastation. ‘Trauma: An injury (as a wound) to living tissue caused by an extrinsic agent … a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from mental or emotional stress or physical injury.’
“Like potatoes in a pressure cooker, we century-twenty creatures understand the meaning of stress. A week doesn’t pass without a few skirmishes with those ‘extrinsic agents’ that beat upon our fragile frames. They may be as mild as making lunches for our kids before 7:30 in the morning (mild?) or as severe as a collision with another car … or another person. Makes no difference. The result is ‘trauma.’ You know, bottom-line reason Valium remains the top seller.
“Allow Him to take your stress as you take His rest.”
- Charles R. Swindoll, The Finishing Touch
Trauma was how Rev. Swindoll described the latter part of the 20th Century in his book, but it seems that the “trauma” has only escalated. The USA has been at war against terrorism ever since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, seven years after Rev. Swindoll published this book. Near the end of the 90s, the company I worked for went through a series of layoffs when China steel was freely dumped in the USA, tanking the domestic steel market. Then, as work trickled in for our company – much overseas, and some of that in China, people were hired back just to be laid off again. I am sure that our company was not the only one and for a variety of different reasons.
Then 2020 comes along and there seems to be no end to the trauma. I heard a report the other day that recapped 2020 from the beginning of the year. I had heard so many traumatic stories this year, that my brain had purged, temporarily, the brushfires in Australia, the big news at the beginning of the year. I apologize to those in Australia for the momentary lapse in memory, as I am sure many are still trying to recover. The Taal volcano erupted in January, affecting the region around the Philippines. And then the COVID-19 virus epidemic was announced before the end of January, not yet pandemic status. And also before the end of January, the British ratified Brexit while in the US, the Dems tired to oust the president.
In the USA, much of the country was in drought conditions early in 2020. The tornado season came early. Praise the Lord that it also ended early, not that we do not still have a few twisters here or there, but the “outbreak” season came early, and left just in time for the hurricane season to crank up early. Meanwhile, out west, the wildfire season has been one of the worst ever all along the Pacific coast. The usual summer monsoons in the southwestern US never materialized, keeping everything hot and dry.
Then a few killings of black people by the police created a media firestorm of epic proportions that still rages. These were not the only people killed by police, but once the media calls it “systemic,” then the entire world began to protest. I am not diminishing what happened as any life lost is too many, but the resulting violence is making matters worse. And although there were race riots around the world, India an Hong Kong saw there share of riots and the unwanted aftermath of said violence.
Politics in the USA has become a battle of extremes with no one seeking middle ground, if the middle ground between the extremes is even firm enough on which to take a stand. Mudslinging has always been a favorite pastime of the politicians, most filled with lies and half-truths, but it has reached new heights. And the rest of the world is no better. It seems that two opposite ideologies are at play, but do not think of it as “good” versus “evil” for neither political extreme is “good.” Some extremes tolerate freedom better and they tolerate Christianity better, but still – not “good.”
It seems that if you do not take the “valium” as Rev. Swindoll “suggests” or whatever else is available, the only way to cope is to turn off the television and radio and when on the internet, ignore the news feeds. Otherwise, how can one cope?
Jesus gave us the answer to that question a long time ago, nearly 2,000 years ago. Accept His yoke.
How can Jesus guarantee that our burden will be light in the face of all that is going on? Notice the photo above. I have used it before. I had seen these ox carts for some time. The poor man driving his oxen could not get two oxen that were of equal size. The Apostle Paul talks of being unequally yoked in 2 Corinthians 6:14 with unbelievers. This pictured ox cart driver could relate to that. One ox is carrying the large share of the load while the other is simply keeping him company most of the time. This breaks down the larger ox and the other ox does not grow stronger, for he rarely has to carry much of the load.
Yet in our journey through life, Jesus is the stronger One who carries the bulk of the load, if we let Him do so. He has infinite power. He will never break down. Our problem is to underestimate the load and think that we can do it on our own. Then a year like 2020 hits us.
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus promises us rest. Why then do we continue to struggle? Lee Strobel wrote in one of his books about how the word “believe” in John 3:16 means more than an intellectual belief. The original word comes closer to “trust.” Maybe down deep inside, we simply do not trust Jesus. We surge ahead of Him, carrying the load, until we break down. We carry the load of stress and the stress leads to trauma.
But do not worry, another thing Jesus told us not to do. Jesus has infinite patience with us.
While the media can fan the flames of hatred and distrust, we do not have to listen. We can listen to Jesus who shares our burdens and takes the larger load.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.