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 is light. (Jesus) Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

The image was stunning.

There lay Jessie Diggins, the silver medalist in the womens’ 30K cross country race, sprawled face first in the snow at the finish line, skis splayed out behind her. Utterly, totally, completely exhausted. She seemed unable to move, let alone get up on her feet.

People rushed out, of course, to help–get her skis off, wrap her in one of those white puffy quilts you saw everywhere, congratulate, support, comfort. But when she tried to rise and her legs buckled, when her eyelids fluttered and she looked close to fainting, I wondered if they wouldn’t have to carry this young, strong athlete off the course.

Now I can’t imagine skiing 30K at all, even when I could possibly have done it, much less skiing it in a race.  But I can imagine Jessie’s exhaustion.

Because that’s what this winter has been like for me.

I’ve had one medical challenge after another, capped by a second bout of COVID in mid-January. My days have been consumed by doctors’ appointments, tests, trips to the emergency room. There have been times when I questioned my endurance, my ability to get up one more time.

Even writing this column has seemed more than I could do. How could I encourage other people in their journey of faith when I could barely stagger in mine?

But then the words of Jesus flowed over me like balm over sore muscles.

Ahhh. Right. I have the Lord by my side, ready to get me through. I am not alone. He gives me people, as there were for Jessie, to help, pray, support, encourage.

Yes, it’s hard to be the recipient, to recognize I’m not in control, to depend on the kindness of others. It’s hard to admit my faith gets shaky when the race goes on and on and there seems to be no end.

But I am yoked to the Lord of the universe. He walks with me, carries my burden, gives me just the help I need at the moment I need it. He will see I finish my race.

All I need to do is relax. And trust Him.

LORD JESUS: I come to You, weary and over-burdened. I give You everything I’m trying to carry—including the things I shouldn’t be. Help me to humble myself, receive help, rest in You. Amen.

This column was scheduled for publication in “Bozeman Daily Chronicle,” February 27, 2022. For some reason, it was never published.