For my yoke is easy and my burden is light

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There was an amazing young couple, brilliant medical doctors, who spent practically all of their free time doing medical mission trips to poor areas of the Philippines. They truly sought to link their faith and their profession. To witness their devotion, as well as their generosity to the poor and needy, was a gift and witness to all who met them.

Years later, the wife developed a malignant tumor at the base of her skull and despite the best medical attention she only lived for a couple more months. Her husband was absolutely devastated, and for a period of time, lost much of the fire, faith, and enthusiasm he earlier displayed. But a few years later when speaking with a friend he once again appeared joyful and excited. He explained that as he sank deeper into depression after his wife’s death—with thoughts of suicide crossing his mind—he prayed and asked God to either take him so he could be with her, or show him how to go on with his life in a way that would keep her presence, devotion, faith, and memory alive. It was then, he said—when he “hit rock-bottom”—that he came upon that one last tiny sliver of strength and hope that he had left in him. He went on to explain that it was as if his wife spoke to him telling him to continue doing the work they loved doing, that she would continue being with him and giving him strength. He said, “I knew God had answered my prayer. And so this is what I do now.” In his work with the underprivileged people in the area, his beloved wife continued to live and be present to him. Working with the people he rediscovered hope and meaning; and through them, God rekindled his faith. God did not take the yoke and burden away from him; but He showed him a way to make it lighter, bearable, meaningful, and redemptive.

God’s love for us does not guarantee a problem-free life. What it does assure us is that we will be given the abilities, gifts and people to help us handle the challenges. We need only be open, aware and accepting of God’s presence and love each day. This week as we enter the summer season let’s take some time each day to slow down and be silent.

Peg Orzel