I am amazed how often I carry burdens longer than I should.
There seems to be an unnecessary affinity in my soul for feeling weighed down. Like somehow, the longer I carry my burdens, the more capable I become at enduring more of them. Like holding up under many burdens is some kind of badge of holiness. Ridiculous, I know.
When I was a little girl, my brother, aunt, and I would catch baby bullheads at the beach of Silver Lake. Bullheads have stingers, and those stingers hurt like the dickens! The three of us played a little game to see who could hold those stinging baby monsters the longest. We stood there in knee deep water, looking at each other with painful smiles on our sun-kissed faces, hands cupped and dripping with lake water, enduring the pain. Whoever could bear up under the pain the longest was the winner. Ridiculous, I know.
Yet, even more ridiculous is holding onto burdens that don’t belong to us. God clearly calls us to give, cast, and unload our burdens onto Him. Instead we keep, grasp, and cling to them. In fact, God promises to take care of us when we give Him our burdens:
Give your burdens to the Lord,
and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”
Psalm 55:22 NLT
There are a few interesting things to note in that verse. First, the word “give” is in a command tense. It is not suggested here that we give our burdens to the Lord if we feel like it, it is commanded. It is also in the infinitive form, meaning it is a continual act of giving. Our backs are like a magnet for burdens. And a one-time casting off of them is not likely to do the trick.
It is also a conditional promise. IF we give our burdens to the Lord, He WILL take care of us. If we don’t give our burdens to the Lord, he cannot take care of us. We suffer needlessly for our lack of surrender. Lastly, the word “fall” at the end of that verse can be translated “collapse”. In other words, when we give our burdens to the Lord, He will not only take care of us, but also keep us from collapsing under their load. We will be free from the weight of the load we have been carrying.
So why don’t we heed this amazing promise more often?
According to Chiam Ben Torah,
“There is the story in the Talmud of a poor man who had no wagon or donkey to carry his heavy bundles. He had to carry the load on his back and walk many miles with his burdens to the village. A wealthy man with a large wagon rode by. Seeing the poor man struggle with his burdens, he stopped and offered the man a ride. The poor man was more than grateful to have his burden eased.
After traveling some time, the wealthy man noticed that his companion was sitting with his bundles still upon his shoulders. “Why don’t you put your belongings down,” Asked the wealthy man. “There is plenty of room in my wagon to lay your burdens down. Are they not heavy?”
“Indeed they are,” sighed the poor man. “But you have been more than gracious to offer me a ride and I do not wish to take advantage of you by weighing down your wagon.”
Isn’t that what we do with this promise? We want to unload our burdens, because we feel the pain and fatigue of them. We want the freedom, peace, and lightness of being that God promises all over His beautiful word. We crave the release of the burden. Yet, when God gives us the promise and opportunity to lighten our load, we only release it partially, or feel guilty for bugging God with it.
Releasing requires surrender. And if we surrender our burdens to the Lord it means we give up control. (Not that we ever had control, but rather, the illusion of control) Control, and even the illusion of it, makes us feel comfortable. We can get so comfortable in carrying our burdens that the thought of giving them to the Lord is a little scary. What in the world would we have to complain about if we didn’t have our burdens, right?
Oh my sister, our desire for control is nothing more than a swelling of pride, and the root of all sin and pain in our lives. Are we willing to give up that pride in exchange for God’s peace? Are we so confident in our abilities bear our burdens that we will forfeit the Lord’s promise to take care of us?
[Tweet “Whatever we refuse to release to God controls us, whatever controls us steals our freedom.”]
Don’t allow yourself to be fooled any longer.
God does care about every single burden you are carrying today. He longs for you to give Him whatever is weighing on you you, so you can walk in the promise of His care, and freedom from your burdens. God is driving by with His wagon of care, will you take off that load, hop on board and let Him carry you and care for you?
The choice is yours. Release and be free.
Let’s be honest:
What burden are you carrying today?
Do you wear it as a badge of holiness?
Are you willing to give up control and give it to the Lord?