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Waiting on Grandma’s Porch

June 29, 2020

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.” Matthew 11:25-30.

Everyone seems to have a story about a family member being left behind.  My mother used to tell the story of the family gathered at my grandmother’s house after church one Sunday to get ready for a picnic—six or eight aunts and uncles and about a dozen cousins.  Each family piled into their car with a gaggle of kids to go to the park.  A mile or so down the road, my mother noticed that one of my brothers was missing.  We circled back to pick him up; he was waiting patiently on Grandma’s front porch.

It sometimes feels like God has forgotten us.  Did he forget that we were waiting on the porch to be picked up?  Did he not notice that we were alone, and in need of a lift?  Did he not notice that we couldn’t lift the fog of depression that paralyzed us? Did he forget us when we were waiting for his help to kick our addiction? Did he forget that we were waiting for him to show up at the hospital?  Did he forget that we were caring for a sick loved one and needed his reassurance and strength?  Did he forget that we were alone and in need of his comfort?  Did he forget us when we gathered at a graveside?  Did he forget that us when we were out of a job and couldn’t pay our bills?

We need only turn to this week’s Scripture lessons to be reminded that God never forgets us.  We wait like a child who is confident that his parents will come for him.  The Old Testament lesson this week is from Zechariah.[1]  Zechariah means “God Remembered.”  God doesn’t have lapses of memory as we sometimes do. God remembered his covenant, his promises to the Israelites.  Zechariah foretold Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday: “See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foul of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9: 9).  God remembered his promises to his people and he delivered in his perfect timing.

David knew that better than most.  God promised David a descendant who would rule eternally (2 Samuel 7:16).  Did David question God’s memory when he was on the run for ten years—being hunted down by King Saul, who sought to kill him?  Doubts must have crept in at times when it seemed as if he wouldn’t survive long enough to have a descendant.  But God remembered, and he protected David—a man after his own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).  In the end, David knew God would keep his promise: “The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.  The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.” (Psalm 145: 13-14).

Last week we mentioned Paul’s description of the war that rages in each human heart—the battle between good and evil: “For even though the desire to do good is in me, I am not able to do it.  I don’t do the good I want to do; instead, I do the evil that I do not want to do.” (Romans 7: 18-19, Good News Translation).  But he reassures us that God didn’t leave us in this no man’s land.  He sent Jesus to rescue us from our burden: “Who will rescue me from this body that is taking me to death? Thanks be to God, who does this through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (Romans 7: 24-25, Good News Translation).

Jesus remembers.   He knows you, and he won’t forget you. He knows your burdens.  He wants to carry them for you: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.” Matthew 11:25-30.  He knows your name.  He knows everything about you.  He feels your pain.  He rejoices with you, and he weeps with you.  He remembers you and he is willing to shoulder your burdens.  Hand them off to him.  Ask him to carry your burdens.  He has strong shoulders.  And wait patiently on the porch of your heart.

Prayer: Come, Lord Jesus, come to us today.  We thank and praise you for never forgetting us—for being with us in our isolation and heartaches.  Lift our hearts during this difficult time.  Help the unemployed find productive, God-pleasing work and encourage them in their search for work.  Help those who have lost their way.  Remove the burdens we bear.  Heal the sick.  Touch all who are lonely and isolated. Inspire us to think more of others and less of ourselves.  In your name we pray.  Amen.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] The Scripture texts for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost are Zechariah 9:9-12; Psalm 145:1-14; Romans 7:14-25; Matthew 11: 25-30.

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