Why Pray? Day 9 -- "Which Foot First?"

Thanks for coming along on the journey this week! If you haven't yet read Day 9 in the Why Pray? book, please do so now.

The verses for today come from 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.”

I. Am. Exhausted.

Busy week, busy weekend, busier days ahead as my children finish up school (yes, four more days), and my family prepares for a "vacation" (which I'm sure will be busy as well). I honestly want to hop on just one foot (the work foot) and get this devotion completed so I can publish it to "go live" early tomorrow (Monday) so I can go to sleep.

So I am going to stop and pray - right now - to realign my feet so that I'm not stepping with my "work" foot alone.............

................I'm back. Thanks for letting me restart on the right foot.

I'm a visual person, and as I read Day 9, an image combining yokes, stepping in sync, and making a heavy burden easier to carry came to me --

The Budweiser Clydesdales.

If you haven't ever seen them in action outside of a Superbowl ad, they are quite a sight to see! Their hugeness, combined with the impressive teamwork they display, is hard to forget.

As I was researching a little bit about them, I found out that the Budweiser Clydesdales are, from the moment they are born, trained to be "in sync" as in the picture above. The training takes place in baby steps -- first, they are taught how to be handled by trainers (hooves, ears, tails), then they are socialized with other horses and people, leading up to being introduced to crowds (their main purpose is performance rather than deliveries, nowadays). The specifics on training them to pull are more "top secret", but I'm sure they, too, are built upon in small increments -- wearing a yoke alone, wearing it paired with another horse, adding line to the yoke, hitching the horse up into a group without pulling anything, and finally leading up to the horse becoming one of the five show groups in the country.

All the elements are here - the yoke that allows the burden to be shared, the stepping in sync so the carriage is pulled straight and that the horses don't injure each other with missteps. I seem to grasp a sliver of understanding of what Jesus is talking about when I see this picture.

What I also see is that these horses didn't go from being unfamiliar with a yoke straight into pulling in a show group -- they GREW into it. They were intentionally led through exercises that gave them practice, built up stamina, and led them to a level of familiarity that makes the performance a natural extension of who they are. These horses seem to be taking it in stride, because they ARE. They have learned how to do so.

Jesus knows His way isn't natural for us. He knows our nature is to carry burdens alone. He knows we are going to get exhausted from trying so hard. That's why He starts out with "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Then, when we take up His yoke -- walk in step with Him -- we learn from Him and the burden is lighter, easier, no longer ours alone to carry. The more we yoke up to Jesus - walk in sync with Him - the easier it gets to get in sync. We build up stamina, become more familiar and feel it becoming a natural extension of who WE are. We learn from Jesus how to do so.

The author mentions in his closing that "A backward glance will make us laugh as we wonder in amazement at the unbelievable, humorous, and unexpected ways God uses us when we walk in step with Him. Things happen that defy our planning, showing that God is in control. And we rest -- we relax as we, in prayer, snuggle into God's lap with His arms around us."

Suddenly I'm not so exhausted anymore, at least not spiritually. I know He will take me, tired as I am, and walk with me, teach me, take away my burden and give me His to help carry instead. Jesus promises that being in sync with Him will actually bring rest to my soul.

What do you think?

Before you contribute to the blog below (or leave this page to go on to other things), stop for a moment and pray to step back in sync with Jesus. While you do, pray for the families you on your list from Saturday -- does anything come to mind as you pray that maybe calls for action on your part? If so, what can you do to follow through on that call to action?