Scripture Readings: Psalm 55:22: Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
Matthew 11:28: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
1 Peter 5:7: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
I know a lot of people today who are carrying heavy loads of burden. Some of those burdens are so heavy and overwhelming that many are about to collapse under their crushing weight. I encounter people every day that are worried about their employment or lack of employment, parents who are worried about their children and their well-being and safety, and children who are struggling to care for their aging parents. Many times, the seemingly overwhelming burden of responsibility is enough to cause many of us to want to run away from our problems and just disappear.
I must confess that I have been experiencing this feeling of being overwhelmed with life recently. It seems that just when circumstances begin to improve, more obstacles block my path and cause me to stumble. Feelings of despair and hopelessness have crept into my mind lately causing me to reexamine my relationship with God. I have found myself asking God if I am doing something wrong or not doing enough things right.
I have talked to several people recently who have misunderstood this call from Jesus to those who are weary and heavy burdened. Jesus promises rest for those who are toiling under the burdens of life, whatever those burdens may be. Some people that I have discussed this passage with recently believe it to mean that those of us who are believers live a life free of problems and burdens. They are surprised to learn that their assumptions couldn’t be farther from the truth. I am also afraid that sometimes my explanation of why that is, just confuses them even more.
Jesus did not promise us a life free from pain and suffering and troubles. He did promise however, that He would be there beside us as we traveled that long and difficult road filled with trials and burdens. The life of a Christian is not always easy, but we believe that we are traveling on a path that will make our faith and ourselves stronger. We are being refined and purified through the many trials and burdens of life.
Several days ago, I was at a breaking point and I just felt like the weight of the world was about to come crashing down upon me. As is often the case when we are at our lowest point, we desperately turn to God in prayer. I told God that I was unsure of what I was praying for and I couldn’t even put into words my needs at that moment. I acknowledged to God that He knew what my needs were and I asked God to grant me the strength and mercy to deal with the burdens in my life. I did not experience a miraculous sign or hear God’s voice, or even have a feeling of peace suddenly rush over me.
What I did experience in the next few days, was a gradual feeling of peace, and each day my burdens seemed to get a little lighter. I continue to have moments throughout my day when I began to feel overwhelmed and burdened. When I feel those moments coming on I remind myself to cast all of my anxieties upon the Lord, because He cares for me and He cares for you. God will not take away all of our burdens but He will be there for us, alongside us, as we navigate our way through those difficult moments in our lives.
There is a verse of scripture that I often repeat to myself that helps me to remember that Jesus Christ is my refuge from the troubles and trials of this world. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27).