06 May 2012

Lessons on the Anticipation of the Yoke

I’ve been asked by one of our docs to do the wound care and limb wrapping of a 13 year old boy with abscesses in both of his lower legs and knees.  I was asked to see him because he has hemophilia . . . a disorder in which the blood doesn’t clot . . . and that makes his case a little more complicated.
Due to his blood disorder, we’ve been asked to put him under anesthesia only if necessary.  So I work gently and slowly . . . and use my (very) limited Hausa to try to distract him from what is going on.
Sometimes it works, but most of the time, the anticipation of what may hurt consumes his attention and he whines and whimpers, afraid of how bad it will be when the pain actually does come.
And the more honest I am with myself, the more I realize that I do the same thing . . . only with God.

I have recently found myself on the brink of a storm . . . and this past week the waves rocked hard against my boat and several times I thought I might flip into the crashing sea.  
I am being asked to persevere through a very difficult and complex situation . . . and I don’t want to.  I want to take the easy way out.  I want justice to prevail . . . and I want it to happen now.  
But I’m being asked to be patient and wait.
Whenever our young patient whimpers, S. (the soon-to-retire nurse-anesthetist I do wound care with) pats him on the shoulder and says ‘Sai hakuri’ (be patient).
But H. can’t just ‘be patient’.  He knows that if we move his legs just so, or press down on the swelling in order to drain his infection, it will hurt.  So he braces and whines and stiffens, waiting for that moment to come.  
When we push his gurney into our cold wound care room, leaving his father in the waiting area, we are asking him to trust us.  We ask him to have confidence that we are going to provide care for him, and help him get well.  But what he remembers from the day before was that we caused him pain . . . yet he has forgotten that the whole process is not painful, only certain elements.
Doesn’t matter.  He remembers the experience of pain.
And that is where I found myself this week . . . my spirit bracing and whimpering, anticipating what might come.  
But instead of ‘Sai hakuri’ what my Anesthetist whispers to me is ‘I am giving you peace . . . trust Me . . . wear My yoke . . . it looks heavy, but it isn’t . . . I am bearing this load with you . . . if you let Me, I will bear it for you . . . you see, Deb., My yoke provides rest, not burden . . . you just have to put it on.’
Living in Niger, I simply have to walk out the front gate to see beasts-of-burden yoked to a cart.  Oh the weight these animals bear as they are being whipped and beaten to turn one way or the next!  
And that is what I anticipate!  
I fear the heaviness of the load . . . that I will break under its weight . . . that I will be crushed by the circumstances that surround me.
But Jesus is asking me to trust Him.  To remember that it is not the entire process that is painful . . . and He asks when I recall the experience of pain, if I would also look to the other end of the yoke and see Him there.

And when I do see Him, I realize that it is
He who holds the weight.  I may be yoked to Him--walking along side, trying to keep in step--but He is the one pulling. 


Linda Watt said...

Deb, In 2010 I organized a retreat on this subject!  We had about 45 missionaries who attended it.  It was incredible, but what was more incredible was what I learned about the yoke.  I had to talk about the yoke and how they were made. Jesus never puts us in the yoke alone.  When ever we are asked to do something that we need to learn he is always there with us.  He bears the burden.  Whenever a farmer is breaking a new animal to a yoke he matches it with an older more experience oxen.  That animal carries the full load and slowly but surely the farmer gives the animal in training more and more to carry.  

Jesus does that with us too, except that he is always there to carry the burden of the yoke. The yoke is always well fitting.  It is made just for us.  Your yoke won't fit me and vice versa.  A few weeks after the retreat I was at a training session on how to do spiritual retreats.  The Lord spoke to me once again. I was in a very difficult situation--verge of burnout and felt the heavy load I was carrying.  He told me to change yokes.  The one I was carrying was not meant for me. It was meant to be light and not a burden.  It was to fit well. I came back resigned my job at SIL and voila! I started recovering from the exhaustion and difficult situation I was in and I can now say I'm wearing the right yoke.  If you want to see the post I wrote up about the yoke, here it is. http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=2790089858100355307#editor/target=post;postID=1438646757677863226

Deb. said...

Thank you Linda!  That link didn't quite work . . . but I found the right one: http://mlwatt.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/my-yokes-fit-well.html

What a great lesson . . . that the yoke is not one-size-fits-all!  Thank you for your encouragement!