What amazed me the first time I saw an oil refinery up close was the intricate maze of pipes. Besides the complexity of it, one wonders how it can all be maintained safely and still be financially viable.

Proper pressure must be kept in every pipe to ensure that the oil flows at just the right rate—not too fast lest it burst the pipes, and not too slow. The designers were clearly ingenious, and it takes an army of experts to maintain and monitor it all.

Our lives are sometimes like that maze of pipes. Besides our jobs and the endless chores that make up everyday living, we have obligations to our families and friends, responsibilities to our communities, and appeals to help a world full of needy causes. We also have spiritual commitments to live our faith—to maintain our relationship with God through prayer, reading His Word, and having fellowship with other believers. Sometimes the pressure seems too much to bear. How do we keep from bursting apart at the seams?

A certain amount of pressure is good for us, and helps us not to slip into a state of physical, mental, and spiritual lethargy. On the other hand, too much is our undoing. That’s why we need a pressure valve, a way out. Jesus offers us just that.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,” Jesus tells us, “and I will give you rest.” Speaking in terms that His followers of 2,000 years ago could understand, He likened the press of daily responsibilities and problems to the load of a beast of burden: “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” 1 If we find our yoke too heavy, perhaps we have fashioned one for ourselves that is heavier than the one God wants us to bear.

A large part of an engineer’s job is to know exactly how much stress the structure he is designing—for example, a bridge, elevator, or boat—can take. That’s why signs are posted in elevators or boats informing how many people they can safely hold. Beyond that limit, the bridge could collapse, the boat could sink, or the elevator cables could snap.

We have to know our limits too, and not push ourselves beyond them. When things begin to get too much, we can let Jesus regulate the pressure. He knows how much is good for each of us and how much we can take.

  1. Matthew 11:28–30 NLT