I feel the weight of this yoke. It’s already so heavy, but with the heat of the sun, it feels unbearable. I see you sitting there, watching me push forward as you rock in the rocking chair on the front porch of my little white house. I see you waving at me to come over and sit with you a while. But I persuade myself you’ll be more proud of me if I keep going. You’ll love me more if I show myself faithful and sacrificing. So forward I go.
You say your love is unconditional, independent of my successes or failures. But I cannot fathom a love like that. I’m not sure I’ve ever really seen it.
All my soul wants is to just BE with you. No conditions, no expectations, no rules, no hidden motives or agendas. I want simple love, not a love based on what I do or don’t do. You say you’re like that, that your love is like the kind I think unreal.
I hear you calling, but I don’t believe you when you tell me you want me to put the yoke down and stop plowing. See, it must be a trick, a test. You can’t possibly want me to rest from something you yourself told me was required.
I’m always being judged and tested, approved or disapproved. To see if I’m good enough for you. Always trying out.
So forward I go. Mind restless. Muscles aching Tears staining the dark brown earth beneath me.
I can’t see you anymore; I’m not sure that I want to.
Suddenly though, you’ve somehow come to stand before me. A hand on my shoulder.
“Sophia, come. Sit with me.”
My tears still flow, as I peer up from beneath the yoke. I finally comply. Hesitantly, I lower my yoke, my eyes searching yours for a hint or clue as to what you’re about to do. Is this a trick or a test? Telling me I’m worst than the rest? That I’m a liar to my word, a fake to my faith? I search your eyes to tell me if I’m about to lose. See, I’m trying to stay ahead of your game so that what I want most I won’t lose. Because what I want most is your love, your pride, and approval.
Down my yoke thuds. Skirting up the rich earth. You take my hand silently, leading me to the porch. My mind races with the words that might pass through your lips to my ears.
“You’re just what I thought, a pathetic child. You’re a poser and liar, not even close to what you aspire. You’re clearly not worth loving or believing. So I’m done with you. I’m taking off and leaving.” You’re not good enough for this field, not as strong as you claim, and really the only one to blame.
I clutch the lump in my throat, begging it not to break. Keep it together, just stay in place. Close off all the places that are leaking, stop them up or I’ll be sinking.
You lead me to the seat I refused to take for so long. I slowly come to sit where you tell me I belong.
“Look at the field, Sophia.” I hear you almost whisper. “It’s the field you wanted so badly to plow.”
My eyes look out to see, to my shock, the entire field is completely plowed. Completely done.
How can it be? How was it done? All my effort, striving, and endless straining to do what was already done.
“I woke up much earlier than you,” you say to me gently, “I finished your field so I could just spend this time with you. I didn’t want you to be distracted by all you had to do, fix, or help. I knew it agonized you to think you had to be perfect at something you could never do, so I wanted to do it for you. See, it’s what I was made for. It was my work, and it’s done. Completely finished. So now we can just enjoy each other. No worries, no distractions. Nothing to fix or figure out. Just relax and enjoy each other.”
How did I miss this? How could I not see it? I missed it through the tears because all I heard was all the pain, heartache, and agony of trying to do what I was never meant to do. All the pain I carried, believing that that’s what you wanted. Someone had told me that I was supposed to plow and toil over the responsibility of your soil. That that pain was normal and the agony just part of it.
But you called me aside and told me it was over.
That agony came from a place of hopelessness, of knowing I’d never really please you because I’d never do it right or good enough, much less even be able to finish enough. But that’s a pain you never meant for me to live in.
There’s literally nothing left for me to do. All I have to do is receive. All you bring, you say receive. I don’t have to pick up that plow again.
Your love isn’t like the love I’ve known. When you say to put down the plow and come sit, that’s all you really mean.
You’re not out to get me or trick me. And now I know, because before you even gave me the chance to prove myself to you, you already finished what I thought I would have to do. You completed the impossible task of appeasing the law that I knew I could not. You love me so deeply, so truly, so sweetly.
Now I can rest in this seat beside you. It’s done. No tricks, no tests. You love me, that’s all. The simple love I wanted to earn so badly has been mine all along. And it is something that nothing can ever cause me to lose.
The work has been done. You did it perfectly as His Son.
You helped me plow my field, and joy is now all I’m called to wield.
“to you the helpless commits himself;
You have been the helper of the fatherless.” Psalm 10:14b
“O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted, you will strengthen their heart;
You will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
So that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.” Psalm 10:17-18