EVER HELD

   
Are you tired on this Monday morning? Is your bag loaded down as you’re grabbing coffee and dashing off to work, school drop-off, such and such appointment, the grocery store? Or maybe the UPS store like me, with a truck load (not trunk load) full of boxes on their merry way to somewhere new?!) Whether you’re reading this in a checkout line or in a parking spot, why don’t you just come for a moment and be still. 
  
What are you carrying today?
  
I don’t know about you, but I wonder if my day might feel a little (perhaps a whole lot) less weighted down if I kept Matthew 11:28-30 on the tippy top of my mind. 
  
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (NLT)
  
If I had to guess, I’d say we could make a list of all we’re carrying with us here and now. Let’s shift our focus away from those things for a moment, and focus on something truly amazing Jesus says in these few lines about it. I read a footnote in True Passion Translation for verse 28. It said that here is the only place in Scripture Jesus says come to Him instead of follow Him. And I don’t think it’s any coincidence it’s here in this place. We learn something profound about Jesus’ character and heart for us: He wants us to draw near to Him and give Him our burdens, instead of trying to hold it all on our own. In other words, when we have a load, He carries us and the load. We are not alone to bear these things, or any things that come our way. He delights in carrying us.
  
Yet our humanness tells us otherwise. This very reason is why Jesus goes on to say, “Let me teach you” in verse 29. He knows our human nature because He lived fully human, yet without sin. This casting of burdens doesn’t always come naturally to us, especially when we’re conditioned by the world to put on our big girl pants and get to work. Jesus tells us another story written in grace colored ink. He is humble and gentle at heart, and we will find rest when we come to Him. His yoke is easy, His burden is light.
  
Of course, that doesn’t mean we won’t have hard work to do, or things will all of a sudden happen easily. Jesus tells us we will have trouble in the world, but we take heart, why? Because He overcame it all (John 16:33). And He’s here with us — calling us to come to Him. With Jesus, we learn the unforced rhythms of grace (MSG). We practice a new pace of surrender and patience. Being held means we are no longer reliant on our own two feet, but we trust the One who guides and carries us. 
  
Whatever your load may be, you are ever held, carried, and loved. 
  
These words from Matthew breathe life into the mission behind Winnefred Austin’s Ever Held collection. We balance a lot in our days. Our bags are made proclaiming this truth over everyone carrying a load: you’re never carrying it alone. We have hope and peace because the Lord carries us. He holds us in His hands and we can find rest there. That’s the heart of an Ever Held bag. Wherever you go, you are ever held by our Lord Jesus.
  
May it be so.
  

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