Today's Spirit-led video, "Lay 'Em Down" is by the CCM group NeedtoBreathe! ... nJoy the gift of music & praise!
"What's on Your Back?"
“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).” (Psalms 55:22, Amplified Bible) Many of the families which I speak to today share that they feel so overwhelmed, so heavily burdened by the oppressive weight of today’s myriad of problems – political divisiveness / strife, economic woes, broken relationships, abounding immorality and a spiritual apathy that seems to be spreading throughout the hearts of God’s people at an epidemic rate. Sadly, many of us feel compelled to carry these burdens ourselves in lieu of releasing them over to the Lord as His Word tells us to do in 1 Peter 5:7, “(Cast) 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.” (Amplified Bible) That reminds me of a story I once read of a man who was walking down a country road while carrying a heavy load of grain upon his shoulders. Another man in a horse-drawn wagon saw him and shouted, "Hey mister, do you need a ride?" The man gladly accepted his gracious offer and got in the wagon, but he kept the load of grain on his shoulder. After traveling a short distance down the road, the wagon driver said to the man, "You know you can put that load of grain down in my wagon, relax and just enjoy the journey!" But the man answered with strong conviction, "Oh no. It's enough to ask you to carry me without having you carry this added burden as well." Does that sound like any of you – I know it does me at times when it comes to releasing my burdens “fully” over to the Lord. Our truth text today from God’s Word clearly promises that God will surely help us carry whatever burdens we have in this life’s journey if we would only let Him have them. Listen to The Message translation of this same verse, “Pile your troubles on God's shoulders— He'll carry your load, He'll help you out.” Sadly, many of us stubbornly choose to hold on to our burdens and carry them ourselves, even if that results in our being weighed down to the dangerous point of exhaustion (i.e. “Burnout” – the very topic we just spoke of in a 4-part message series). God warns us of the dangers of trying to carry our burdens ourselves in Luke 21:34 when He declares, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with … the anxieties (burdens / worries) of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.”(NLT) The Amplified Bible translates this text to read, “Be on your guard, lest your hearts be overburdened and depressed (weighed down) with … headache and nausea of … worldly worries and cares.” (emphasis mine) I suppose that is why the picture of this mule hanging in the air is so amusing to me – it truly represents the spiritual state of many of us when our burdens outweigh our willingness to freely give them over for God to handle (‘carry for us’). Let me close with one final illustration - a guy once saw an ant carrying a piece of straw much larger than he (the ant) was. The man thought, "How interesting that the little ant can carry something so much larger than himself." So he watched the ant with much fascination. As he watched the ant, the ant came to a crevice in the ground. The crevice was too big for him to go down into and it was too wide for him to safely cross. The ant paused for a moment – then took the straw and laid it down over the crevice. He then walked across the straw and then picked up the straw from the other side and went on his merry way. The man thought to himself, "Isn’t that something - the little ant turned his burden into a bridge.” Similarly, when we choose to let God take all – not just some - of our burdens, then He will divinely use them to build bridges across otherwise impassable “life crevices” that we are sure to encounter in our life journey of becoming more like our glorious Savior, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:22, TM)! …Selah!