A ratchet prevents free movement in one direction but allows free movement in the opposite direction. For example, the ratchet wrench shown above allows you to move the handle freely in one direction but turns the socket when you move it in the opposite direction. A ratchet on a winch allows a user to tighten a cable but prevents the cable from loosening until a user releases the ratchet. This one-directional control of movement, with tightening by increments, is known as a ratchet effect.
Sometimes it feels as though the burdens of life become heavier and heavier, with a ratchet effect preventing much if any relief. Taxes go up but hardly ever go down. The list of politically incorrect words gets longer and more ridiculous, with no return to common sense. Journalism dwells on narratives rather than providing the whole story, and honest reporting seems elusive. Political activists call for dialog and discussion yet quickly move to silence anyone who asks questions or offers differing ideas.
Many of our neighbors and friends feel frustrated as the cultural and political pressures tighten. You can see it in their eyes, sense it in their body language, hear it in their tone of voice, and realize it in their words (if they feel safe enough to share their thoughts). Maybe we feel that way, too, but the ratcheting pressures do not relent.
We can take heart, though, that Jesus sees and knows our situation. God saw and understood, and then He began the exodus that freed Israel from slavery in Egypt. Looking more broadly across all time and all humanity, He saw and understood, and then sent Jesus to accomplish a much greater exodus for all of us. Check the Luke 9:28-36 account of the transfiguration where the Greek word “exodus,” rendered “departure” in the ESV and NASB translations, points ahead to the cross.
Jesus sees and knows our situation, and He offers transcending relief. In Matthew 11:27-30 He says, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all 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.” Let us find our relief in Him!