rebelling against low expectations

Are You Heavy Laden? Unpack God’s Promise of Rest


“I can’t believe how light I feel.”

These words were spoken to me by one of my co-workers after she found out that her sister’s cancer had been most likely completely removed. It had been burdening her for months.

Burdens can weigh us down more than we know. They can come out of nowhere, or they can gradually build. Still, being “heavy laden” is more common to our shoulders than we might realize.

But is lugging around heavy burdens what Christ desires for His children?

Let’s consider Matthew 11:28-30 and see what it has to offer:

“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.”

Come and Cling

Jesus said in the gospel of Matthew, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Why, at times, is it so hard to come to Jesus? Why do we insist on doing everything and carrying the burdens ourselves? Jesus has given us a gracious invitation. A command promising peace. This sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Then why do we resist?

In my experience, it often comes down to three things: doubt, control, and pride.

We doubt the Lord’s power, so we attempt to take control. Then, losing control, we’re too proud to admit we can’t handle it.

The first step in moving away from this pattern is realizing your mistake.

  • Don’t doubt what God can do, but instead remind yourself of all He has done by turning to His Word.
  • Believe that He can and will take your burdens and relinquish the responsibility of carrying them back to the Lord.
  • Come to His feet, admit to the Lord everything that has seemingly taken control of your life (including you) and therefore given you a heavy burden.
  • Hold fast to Him. You have to release the dead branch if you’re going to take the hand of the Rescuer.
  • Cling to His promise that He will give you rest.

Learn and Lean

Jesus goes on to say in Matthew, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me.” Jesus Himself is our teacher and example.

He has compassion for us (Matt. 14:14) and He sympathizes with us. Throughout Scripture, we see Jesus lightening the burdens of others, and showing them His power and mercy.

When Joseph didn’t know whether he should wed Mary, as she was pregnant, an angel of the Lord came to him and showed him the path to take, instructing him to take her as his wife.

When David was being hunted by Saul, God provided Jonathan. David was in constant worry for his life, but the Lord provided security, friendship, and peace by way of a friend, Jonathan.

When Moses was chosen to lead the Israelites out from under the hand of Pharaoh, he did not trust his ability to speak eloquently. Therefore, God lifted that burden from him and provided Aaron to be the spokesman.

These men had to trust the Lord. They let go of their burdens by learning to trust in the Lord and leaned on Him to provide for them.

Reason and Rest

Concluding Jesus’s words in Matthew, “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.”

Right here, Jesus gives us the whole explanation of why we should place our burdens at His feet. God is gentle, lowly in heart. In other words, we have nothing to be afraid of. There will be no horrible consequences for letting go of our worries.

If we follow God’s command in giving up our burdens, He promises rest. And not just any rest, rest for our souls. My heart hurts when I am struggling. It’s as if the deepest part of my being is being wrenched and twisted. Our souls will be at peace if we give those struggles to God.

Remembering the words of my co-worker, she couldn’t believe how light she felt. When God takes our burdens, it is a literal feeling of relief, as if we were walking on clouds. We can breathe again.

In closing, let’s take a look at a few verses in Psalms, proclaiming His goodness.

  • Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you. He will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
  • Psalm 34:4-5 “I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
  • Psalm 34:17-18 “When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

Consider these verses. They each promise a response from the Lord when we cry out to Him. It might not always seem like He hears us, but He guarantees His presence and sustenance.

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About the author

Julia Rowe

Julia Rowe (formerly Julia Scott) is a 20 year old follower of Jesus. She has a passion for sharing God’s promises through writing, singing, and encouraging others through words and time spent with them. She got married in June of 2023 and lives with her wonderful husband in Southern Oregon.


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  • Thanks so much for sharing this article! I read it during a time when I was carrying a burden of unforgiveness and bitterness in my heart. But when I got to the part: “is lugging around heavy burdens what Christ desires for His children?”, I knew I had to throw my pride out the window, forgive, and let go.

    I love how you pointed out that Christ is gentle and lowly in heart and that we can place our burdens at His feet and not be afraid. He knows the hurt and the pain we carry, and He is compassionate.

    But it also made me think how I’m supposed to strive to become more like Him – “[…] learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart […].” It made me think how Christ humbled Himself and carried love, mercy, and forgiveness all the way up to the cross, and I’ve got to learn from Him and follow His example. It was a hard fight for me (I guess I really was trying to take control), but once I learned to let go, I realized the burden was gone and the yoke was light!

    Thanks again for sharing this, it was really helpful! God bless.

    • Hello Tasha!
      I am so glad that you were encouraged and that your burden was lifted! May you continue to give your burdens to the Lord, and know that He will faithfully lift them from you!
      God bless you!

By Julia Rowe
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →