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  • Writer's pictureJen Weaver

The Lord's yoke is REAL - and maybe, not what you think!

An analogy from the scriptures can help us access The Savior’s help with adversity. His yoke is REAL -- and maybe, not what you think!

When the forward and backward steps of progress are so small, they are imperceptible, we may feel like giving up. But our capable Savior has promised us His help. He says:

Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV)
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Maybe like me, you've always been disturbed by the image of yoked oxen -- it looks like suffocating bondage! But did you know that when yokes were used, a weaker ox was usually paired with a stronger one? And that terrible looking, heavy shoulder beam laying across both oxen’s shoulders, wasn’t oppressive -- it resulted in a distribution of weight, so the stronger ox didn't drag the weaker one along. Yokes were even custom fitted to individual oxen for more natural and comfortable movement. Yokes made the impossible possible.

I came across *this information during the difficult and confusing time of healing from religious trauma, after years of spiritual coercion in my youth. As an adult, I suffered from anxiety at church and spiritual perfectionism. For a long time, it seemed as if there was no end in sight. Understanding these things about The Savior's yoke, created a visual that worked for me. I began envisioning myself carrying a heavy load alongside someone with the capacity to bear it. While I could hardly fathom my load becoming “comfortable,” that visual of being yoked to my Savior was so powerful, that I began to feel my load lighten as I pictured it.

Sometimes, when things were especially hard, I would picture myself shoulder to shoulder with my Savior. He would turn to me, look me in eye, and say, “It’s okay. I am WITH you! I'm bigger and stronger. We will pull this load together.”

Just as with yoked oxen, my strong and more capable Savior was not going to drag me along at a faster pace. He was patiently going at my pace, allowing His ways (or the new patterns of thinking and behavior that I was trying to form) to come naturally until they could be fully cemented within. For change to become permanent, it had to be slow. It wasn’t something that could be forced overnight by sheer “will power.”

In the middle of ongoing situations, I would picture my Savior saying to me, “See that hill? We’re going to do this again. You are getting stronger!” The “learn of me” part of that scripture began making sense. I had hope that in time, the burdens I carried could became “easy,” and the yoke, “light.” This is what saw me through, until my burden was lifted and those things became true.

Why the Savior's yoke is such a powerful tool:

  • When we carry our burdens with the Savior of the world, He makes them light!

  • Our burdens can strengthen us and help us learn His ways.

  • Going at a slow pace with our patient, loving Savior makes change more permanent.

  • Jesus Christ can help us with any load, even the heavy load carried after suffering spiritual abuse.

*Information taken from “Take My Yoke upon You,” New Era, Oct. 2012, 24-25

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