Do you have a fear or a phobia? I think most of us do. I am VERY claustrophobic, and the fear of being trapped in a small space absolutely wigs me out. A friend shared her fear of bridges with me recently, and told me an amazing story.
The first time that driving over a bridge was a issue for her was a trip she made with her 12 month old child. Bridges weren’t a problem until the moment that they were. She experienced her first panic attack about two minutes into a long two-lane bridge. No turning around, no turning back. Part of the physical manifestation of the attack was a feeling of numbness in her arms and legs, making her fearful of losing control of the car. She began to say the Lord’s Prayer.
She made it over the bridge and stopped at a gas station. Because of the geography of the Outer Banks, there were only two choices: go back over the bridge she had just crossed, or go ahead….to another bridge.
There was a car full of ladies at the gas station. In a moment of desperation, she approached them and explained what had just happened. She asked if one of them would kindly get in her car with her and drive over the next bridge. Their immediate response? “Of course!”
Grace. Grace upon grace upon grace. Grace freely offered by angels in t-shirts and shorts, helping a complete stranger at a gas station.
Matthew 11 is a reminder of what to do and to whom we can turn when we are tired, scared, overwhelmed, and need God to help us recover from a situation:
Matthew 11 (The Message)
27 Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. “The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I’m not keeping it to myself; I’m ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.
Jesus invites us to come to him and listen as he explains God’s grace, line by line. We are called to get away from all of life’s anxiety and take a real rest. When we do, we learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
I bet there are people in your life, like those ladies at the gas station, who can help you with the things you are dealing with that are heavy and ill-fitting. You just have to ask.
I KNOW that walking with Jesus is how we live freely and lightly. You just have to walk.
Maybe he is even calling YOU to be the angel in t-shirt and shorts for someone today. You just have to listen.
Come away with Jesus, and dwell in his unforced rhythms of love, joy, peace, gratitude, and especially grace. He just might send you an angel, too.