Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
- Reflect on these passages alone or with a small group.
He despondently streaked his hand through his greasy hair and stared at the floor while sitting next to the decrepit computer desk. My chaplain had just gotten off a Skype call from his teary-eyed wife. Moments before she was crying out for him to come home because she couldn’t stand him being away anymore. He appeared frustrated, angry, and upset with her pleas as if she didn’t understand, and it bothered him. I had obviously walked in on an argument of some kind.
The irony of this was that he was a man of God. On any other day during our deployments to Afghanistan and Kuwait, he was a bringer of hope, joy, and blessing. A brilliant model of Christian fortitude and leadership. Yet, there was none of that reflecting off of him at that moment. With the plethora of daily demands nipping at his heels, this video call had drained him out. The thoughts he must have been having right then…
U.S. military Chaplains strive to alleviate their entire unit’s burdens while being subject to those same weights themselves. As his assistant, I’d gone through similar bouts of dispiritedness too. Moments like these made you feel the loads you carried. They brought you into the world, humbled you, and proved no one is immune to misery and sin from time to time. No one is immune to being human.
Real Christians don’t spend their time being oblivious to the world and singing Kumbaya around a campfire; they spend their time being human, living human lives, and experiencing the human condition. Real Christians experience real burdens, real heartaches, real moments of jubilation, real moments of despair, real moments of being Godly, and real moments of being corrupt. Subsequently, through all these ambivalent thoughts, feelings, and experiences, God has chosen to accept us as we are, not as He wants us to be.
When the world beats us to a pulp, when our shortcomings torment our minds, and when we feel God is the last being on Heaven and Earth who would want us, He wants us! Christ didn’t come to hand us a laundry list of things we must do to earn His love. He came to save us from ourselves. Christ is gentle and humble in heart. Come and lay down your burdens and your labors. Come and forgo your deceiving causes to become righteous before Him. Come, lean on Him, learn from Him, and be.
He didn’t die for us because we scored enough brownie points or destroyed the ticket dispenser with our Skee ball skills. He died for us because He loves us. And he loves us because we…are…human.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you today as a human: the created, not the creator. Like Paul, I am wretched and feel unworthy of your love from time to time. Yet you love me and call out to me to rest in your arms. You’ve accepted me as I am. Allow me to find rest in your gentle and humble heart and strengthen and guide me as I work towards the human you envision me to become. Amen.