Releasing Our Burdens

Releasing Our Burdens

Psalm 37:3-6 (AMP) Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass. And He will make your uprightness and right standing with God go forth as the light, and your justice and right as [the shining sun of] the noonday.

A long time ago, I read this passage in Psalm 37 in the Amplified version and it has stuck in my head for years. Particularly the part in verse 5, “Commit your way to the Lord (roll and repose each care of your load to Him). This is important. It helps the Type A personality people to understand that fervent frenzy for organized, scheduled, and perfect lives is not our downfall. I can hear all the “Martha” girls whispering a quiet “amen”.  I believe that the Lord allows our plans to be interrupted, the way to become blocked, obstacles to appear, and strength to evaporate otherwise how would we ever find the time to trust Him?

Today as I sit at my desk in the quiet of the morning, every moment creates an ache or pain in my body. For the past week or so, I have been preparing for our move in the next month. Cleaning out every space occupied by our “stuff”, eliminating clutter, and trying to get things ready – my mind is still racing but my body is not keeping up. I am clearly not as young as I used to be or in the physical condition that I was a couple years ago. Yet, when I get an idea, plan or purpose and set my mind to it, there is not going back. What if our life in Christ was the same? Once we decided to know Him and pursue Him with the same aggressive attack that causes us to chase our dreams and realize goals. What if?

Those people who survive on compartmentalized lives such as myself will understand how our life is organized in boxes. In the living room that once was a lovely sitting area is now filled with furniture that is for sale or not in use right now along with many of the larger wall decorations now removed and ready for the move. The dining room is not fit for a meal but has carefully stacked boxes of gram’s precious china and a packing station on the buffet. The back porch where our family would gather for meals during summer nights out by the pool now contains the contents of the attic. Sifted through and repacked, it is ready for transport. The family room is empty other than the furniture and television. Everything has been moved in preparation for departure. When that day comes a truck will pull into the driveway and all the contents of our life will be packed into it. Everything in one place. Hmmm… What if we did that with our life in Christ as well…

What if we were willing to take everything we owned, all that we are, every worry, care and burden along with all our responsibilities and placed it all in His Hands… what might happen? So we come back to the definition of “roll and repose”. You and I both know if completely honest that we have yet to achieve full dependency on the Lord and on most days there is little evidence that some trust Him at all. We make compartments in our life and distribute our life accordingly. One marked family. One marked work. One marked church. If we are lucky, there might even be a tiny one marked as “self”. We divvy our life up in such a way that we can deal with it. Yet the Lord invites us to trust Him in all things. To hand over every worry, care and burden into His Most Capable Hands, but our lack of faith won’t allow it and tainted trust prohibits it. If I don’t do it myself, no one else will. The great thing about the Lord is that He knows us. He knows us better than anyone else so when He invites to live in covenant and make the commitment to live for Him that He is more than willing to allow us to “roll and repose” our life. What does this mean?

Though at times, it is possible to dump a load in God’s Hands by succumbing to the weight and gravity of our problem, the Lord desires us to trust Him in all things. My son came by the other night to help me unload a desk from the car. It was a heavy piece of furniture. I warned him as he began to slide it out to be ready. He agreed but I knew he didn’t really believe me. When the weight of the furniture finally began to bear down on him, his expression changed. He felt the heaviness of the burden. So he began to shift the weight around until he could manage it. I had to do the same. The shift of weight distribution is the same concept expressed in “roll and repose”. As the heaviness of life sinks in, we may roll a care or two over to Jesus. We rest for a moment to see if the adjustment helped and then perhaps decide to change positions some more. The Lord knows that our flesh and human nature will not allow us to release every weight or burden instantaneously, but encourages us in these verse to try a little at a time.

Psalm 55:22 (AMP) Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail).

 

Giving our burden to the Lord means releasing the weight of it. The weight is called worry, stress and anxiety. These are the rest robbers of life. These three things will suck life right out of us if not managed properly. The only way to end these deal breakers and dream crushers is to trust the Lord. We trust Jesus using the faith placed in our heart by God during creation. It comes with the package but is usually hidden under the load of life packed on top of it.

Ecclesiastes 3:9-11 (AMP) What profit remains for the worker from his toil? I have seen the painful labor and exertion and miserable business which God has given to the sons of men with which to exercise and busy themselves. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

Repentance is a continual process. This has nothing to do with the debate of once-saved-always-saved but by definition to repent is to turn. I must repent day by day and often moment to moment in order to remain aligned with Jesus in order to follow Him. Each day is a test to trust Him just a little more and discover just a bit more faith in Him. You can work as hard as you want doing good things even God things, but our relationship with Jesus must be the heart of each matter. Our life cannot have several doctrines and agendas according to where we are and what we are doing. Often people have commitments to family, work and church with a long list of do’s and don’ts that bog us down and overshadow our purpose in life.

Can you stop for a moment and say this with me? “God makes everything beautiful in its time.” Who created time, mastered it, and mapped it out? God. Who better to make it happen? No one. Do you believe that God is making something beautiful out of all the broken pieces of your life today? Brokenness is essential to rebuilding and remodeling our life to His Standard as brutal as it can be. He promises to make good of every detail of our life. (Romans 8:28) We must love Him. We must trust Him. God “planted” eternity in our heart. Yet for some reason people think that if the Lord doesn’t do a quick work that He is not real, not here, or not interested in us. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Lord is preparing our heart to be fertile and helping fix our mind so that Eternity will blossom into faith, hope and love. Such a work allows God’s Spirit to produce every promised spiritual fruit in our life that will satisfy our soul.

Matthew 11:28-30 (AMP) Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.

The offer by Jesus still stands…”Come to Me… and I will cause you to rest.” Several years ago, a young woman was hired to fill a position in the office I supervised. The position that she was given highly specialized and according to her resume, she appeared unqualified. At the time, I was a stress monster as not only was I managing three different departments but I was doing this job since the person who did it was abruptly fired. It was handling more than a million dollars of federal aid. Working for the government, when a department or branch closes other areas absorb the staff with the mindset that each person is a voter. At that time, I would work ten or twelve hour days, come home and continue to work at night. I still had a family to care for, chores to do, and the usual responsibilities most people have. I was so stressed that my body was reacting with constant indigestion and chronic bouts with hives. It was terrible but I was successfully getting the job done…right?

Well, then cancer happened to our family. Take the normal, well-organized, highly efficient, and carefully constructed juggling act called an average life and smash it into a million pieces on the ground. I tried for a long time to put it back together the way that it was but the pieces did not fit. The young lady and I both ended up leaving our positions at the school to take new ones. Recently our company needed some contract work done, so we hired her as she turned out to be an excellent, well-skilled employee and one of my closest, dearest friends. It is funny to hear her recount the transformation that occurred before her watching eyes of frenzied, stress monkey to the person I am now. I don’t even really know and understand the peace that I have in life other than to say, “Jesus.”

Jesus wants to take the burden of your life in exchange for a rich, satisfying one. We just don’t want to relinquish control of it. When we cannot bear the load any longer, we bring it to Jesus. Why not try something new? We can daily exchange the pieces if we want to. I can give Him one burden, three worries and twelve cares today and His Response will always be more than I can ask or think of. The Lord desires for us to live in peace and rest trusting Him for everything and with everything that comes with life in general. What am I withholding? It is the very thing that is stealing my joy and taking my peace.

I John 5:1-5 (AMP) Everyone who believes (adheres to, trusts, and relies on the fact) that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah) is a born-again child of God; and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of Him (His offspring). By this we come to know (recognize and understand) that we love the children of God: when we love God and obey His commands (orders, charges) [when we keep His ordinances and are mindful of His precepts and His teaching]. For the [true] love of God is this: that we do His commands [keep His ordinances and are mindful of His precepts and teaching]. And these orders of His are not irksome (burdensome, oppressive, or grievous). For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith. Who is it that is victorious over [that conquers] the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on that fact]?

When our son was declared in remission, I came back and tried to regain a normal life. The life that I had before he became sick and I was gone all the time. Before the shock of my life shook me to the core of my soul, I wanted “that” life. When the worry lines were not so evident, and naivety about the brevity of life allowed me to life without regard. I thought that is what I wanted again. The Lord refused to let me have it. He wanted better for me. Jesus died for us to have a victorious, overcoming, powerful and peaceful life. He offers to take our worries, cares and burdens if we will only let it go for the easy yoke of salvation and life in His Presence. He has provided everything we need by His Divine Power for us to live a godly life and god-like existence but we are not always convinced. Holding tightly to meaningless things, and insisting on doing it our way – there are times when stress, worry and anxiety take over. We are overburdened and become crushed beneath the weight. It doesn’t have to be this way.

We can come to Jesus each day. Giving Him a little more real estate in our heart and head. By by turning one more burden over to Him, the Lord will gladly except that detail and make good out of it. Running out of strength? His Grace is enough and will carry you through. Don’t you love Jesus! A Savior so perfect that even in our rebellion and disobedience seeks to ease our burden and carry our load. See that’s what it is when we decide to take responsibilities of bits and pieces of our life refusing to submit all our life and surrender all our heart to the Lord. Any part of our life, mind, soul and body not giving to Christ remains subject to the enemy. Think about that for a moment.

Whatever we fail to trust the Lord with becomes the enemy’s target. Your faith repulses the devil so he will use the un-surrendered area in us to gain access to the once secure areas of our life. Once inside, he looks for those things that he can destroy in us especially faith, hope and love. He does it with doubt, worry, fear, stress and anxiety that will seep into the areas of growth killing our seed before it is able to grow. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. We must allow Christ to take over every facet of our life to lead us to victory. You have victory today in every area of your life given to the Lord. Start small and you will finish big. You will win. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to “strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight)” in our life. Pick one or two or all of them, and give your burden to Jesus.

There is an old hymn called Count Your Blessings. I wonder what happens if we change the lyrics just a bit to Release Your Burden…

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Release your burdens, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Release your burdens, name them one by one, Release your burdens, see what God hath done!
Release your burdens, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Release your burdens, every doubt will fly, and you will keep singing as the days go by.

My apologies to Mr. Johnston Oatman, Jr. who wrote this old hymn. Please forgive me for taking such liberties with this God-inspired work. Perhaps, maybe just maybe though, if we released our burdens than we would realize our blessing and begin to count them one by one instead. Just a thought…

I Peter 5:6-8 (AMP)  Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.

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