Do you feel like you are carrying a heavy burden? Some days, it is a struggle to get out of bed and then a bigger struggle to make that bed. Every week at the grocery store, I face the very real struggle of getting through the store without buying chocolate. As traumatic as that trial sounds, once in a while, we are all faced with something actually traumatic and devastating. I would guess all of us (personally or someone close to us) have been touched by death, divorce, disappointment in ourselves or others, discouragement (what other ‘d’ words can I think of?). Sometimes, no matter how hard we work, no matter how good our desire is, no matter how much we pray, things just don’t work out like we want. We are captive to the choices other people make, natural disasters, physical limitations, or sickness(the list can go on and on).
As I get older, I am learning hard lessons about an individual person’s right to agency. My adult children are starting to make choices and decisions without my consent! After almost 22 years, they should know that I am always right, but apparently, there are times where they want to figure it out for themselves. They do not do things exactly as I would! What can we do when others (children, spouse, friend, in-laws, neighbor, mail-carrier) disappoint us or we are faced with a crushing blow to our “perfect plans” for life? What if we have done everything ‘right’ and it still doesn’t turn out sunshine and lollipops? We have those days (and long nights) that stretch into weeks, months and maybe even years of things not going as we think they should. How do we carry such a burden? I don’t even like to carry the groceries in, how do we do more than just survive?
I have been hit with a few blows in my lifetime that have rocked my world and made me question everything. The weight of the burden can be too much to bear. There have been moments that I have literally been brought to my knees and felt nauseous with overwhelming grief or hopelessness. In Matthew 11:28-30 the Lord says to us:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”Matthew 11:28-30
I have had burdens so heavy that I could not carry them. Granted, I can’t do a single pull-up, but some things are just too heavy. I could not sleep or think about anything else. I was consumed with helplessness; I was heavy laden.
I had two choices; continue to move through the motions of life and eat my weight in chocolate, or I could hand my burden over to the Lord and actually trust in Him to give me rest. I was exhausted from carrying the hard things of life. I needed the peace only He can give.
In John 14:27 the Lord promises:
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth; give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”John 14:27
I have studied these 2 scriptures all of my life. It wasn’t until I was really faced with a burden that clarity came. I desired peace above all else. The burden was all consuming. I had to realize I really couldn’t change the situation. I had to make a very conscious decision to not dwell on the things my heart was heavy with. I had to force myself to think about other things, read about other things, talk about other things, and not just go through the motions of life. I can testify to you that the peace does come. It comes during a quiet moment when all of the kids are actually asleep. It comes from a friend giving a hug or sending a text and not knowing why. I have felt a great deal of peace as I left my burden to serve another even though I don’t always start out wanting to serve.
My concerns have not completely gone away or been resolved. However, I have felt the peaceful love from the Lord as I have trusted Him. What feels heavy to your heart at this time? Are you tired of carrying such a load? Set it down for just a moment. Get on your knees and let God know you are setting down your burden. He will hold it for you (no one else wants it, so it’s safe with Him). He loves you and He loves me. He loves us while we are heavy laden. He wants to take that burden from us, but he will never just take it. We have to give it to Him. Choose to give it to Him. Choose to feel peace. We do not have to solve the problem today. Trust that God will take over and work the problem in His way and His time. God isn’t restrained by time so let Him do His thing. Heavy burdens do not have to be resolved before we can feel promised rest. Eating ice cream for breakfast and going on a Netflix binge is not the best way to find lasting peace. Trust me, I know. Set the trouble aside, look for the tender mercies (a little extra chocolate won’t hurt), and then trust God.
Featured image from a momentwithchrist.com