“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
I feel like this would be a good verse to have emblazoned across a billboard within an international airport. After I spent about a full day longer than planned on in one, believe me, I saw a lot of tired, burdened people.
I saw people laden down with luggage in lines snaking away from TSA into infinity and moving at a snails’ speed…
People nervously glancing at their watches…
Old ladies anxiously asking for help understanding where their gates were…
People running, barely throwing out an apology as they brushed past…
Hard lines of concentration and focus on people’s face, not smiles…
People lying in out of the way corners, heads pillowed on lumpy backpacks, trying to catch a few winks of sleep as the masses streamed by hurrying to get wherever they were going.
People losing their tempers over lost luggage…
People crying over missed flights and ruined plans…
I, the naïve traveler new to flying, initially thought the hustle and bustle was all very exciting. That is, until after I lost my phone, missed a flight while trying to find it, and got stuck in this giant airport in an unfamiliar city for 24 hours. Then I understood in a much more personal way the anxiety that this teeming hub of transportation is capable of evoking. I couldn’t call my husband to tell him what had happened, and even though I eventually got a plan made and a new flight scheduled, anticipating his worry until I got in contact (which would be hours later) made me anxious, too.
This was my state of mind when I was standing in line at baggage claim a few hours later. I was exhausted, and it wasn’t even noon. I had been standing in one line or another for hours. This was yet one more attempt to see if my lost phone had been turned in, though I had little hope since the last airport employee I had sought help from had practically rolled their eyes at me.
Finally, I was nearing the front of the line, and close enough to hear the exchanges of the people ahead who were finally getting helped. “I can’t LIVE without that suitcase!” wailed a distraught woman to the man at the counter. She had three rolling suitcases trailing behind her, all a matching hue of metallic lavender, linked together in a perfect little train, but apparently there had been a fourth one. I was standing there thinking, “Well, ma’am, it could be worse. You could be without a phone or a coat or a single stitch of luggage, like I am.” I don’t know what went through the man’s head as he listened to the 576th overly dramatic traveler he had likely dealt with that day detail why her fourth metallic lavender suitcase should be on the top of his priority list for the moment. But if he was annoyed or frustrated, not a flicker of such emotion crossed his face.
He smiled kindly, soothing her with his calm, cheerful reassurance that he would do everything in his power to help her. “Now, things are a bit backed up, ma’am, and I can’t guarantee anything,” he reminded her, “but it should be somewhere over in that pile. Come on; I’ll help you look!” I watched as her face brightened and the tension visibly melted from her shoulders. She trotted off after him, eyes alight with new hope, buoyed by having someone to share her burden.
Even my own hopes were lifted. At the very least, I realized that I was in line to talk to someone who was going to treat me and my lost phone as though he actually cared.
That’s also when I realized I had just seen a tiny picture of Jesus’ love.
The world is a lot like one giant airline terminal, you know, teeming with millions of people running frantically to and fro, with places to go, things to do, people to see, laden down with baggage in every size and shape imaginable.
Jesus is standing there at the only Customer Service desk in the world that never has a waiting line,
“caring” more than all the nicest airline employees in the world combined (well, it’s even better than that, because He actually LOVES you),
not just waiting for people to come to Him, but actually inviting them:
“Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
No matter what the size, shape or color of your burdens, He says, “Bring them to Me!” It can be a missing 4th lavender suitcase. If that’s the worry you’re carrying, bring it to Him. It can be a lost phone. Bring it to Him. It can be the pressures of your job. It can be your health. It can be your marriage, your children, your parents or your next-door neighbor. It can be grief, or disappointment, or anger, or fear. It can be all of those things lumped together, plus some. It doesn’t matter if any other human being thinks your burden is worth the time of day or not. If you are burdened with it, He says, BRING IT TO ME.
Somehow I had forgotten a bit how incredible that invitation is. I’d honestly kind of pushed it to the back of my mind, and forgotten it even existed. Funny how we humans like to do that, taking the weight of the world on our shoulders, so sure that if we run, push, think, research, analyze, work, TRY just a little bit harder, we can surely handle it all on our own. But sometimes I guess we just need to feel a little more weak, a little more helpless and out of control, a little more disappointed and discouraged, a little more stranded and at our wits’ end—just needy enough to be jolted with the reminder that we don’t have to carry it all ourselves. In fact, we can’t. But He can.
Thank you Jesus.