Cast Your Burden Upon the Lord
“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved”
“Psalm 55: 22”
I want to take the opportunity today to centre your thoughts around what might be a familiar verse found in the Bible that being “Psalm 52 22”. It is an undeniable fact and one which we are all too painfully aware of and it is that we all carry burdens of one sort or another.
We dwell in a world that is increasingly filled with growing anxiety and sorrows of one sort or another. We are repeatedly being told that we are a “broken society” and have a “sick government” and for the most part that it true. As much as we as believers and members of the household of faith and God’s children would like to think we can avoid them it all unfortunately it’s impossible.
The Bible is clear when it states in “Matthew 5: 45” – “Ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: but He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust”. The sun shines on the righteous and upon the un-righteous alike this is a fact and one we try in vain to avoid.
The burdens we experience are common place to everyone throughout the world whether we are in the East or West, North or South, and regardless of the culture we find ourselves in, the burdens we face provide a “common need and desire” to be bonded together with others in order to provide relief
There are many that we come across, and perhaps you are one of these people who appear to have “more than their fair share” of problems and it seems that “one thing after another” crowds in and no matter which we they turn there is only more frustration and disturbance. The psalmist David was no stranger to this and he knew the self-same experiences and likewise was filled with anxiety, and such was his anguish of heart that he felt overwhelmed. He declared in in “Psalm 55: 5” – “Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me”.
Is this perhaps your experience today, this morning and behind you is a terrible week, and before you it seems there is no respite to the problems that you face, truly you are feeling overwhelmed by the experience you are going through. If this is true of you today, I want to say that whilst I have no “magic formula” or a “magician’s wand” (my name is not Harry Potter) that I can wave and relieve your troubles. However, I do have some answers for you.
One of the reasons why I love the Bible so much is because it is the Word of God, and I know the author of it by first hand experience and have done so since 2150hrs on Thursday 4th April 1968. Since that day, I have been learning what it means to be in relationship with God and to enjoy His Fatherhood and the companionship of His Son Jesus. He has been a friend and confidant. He has been a counselor and companion; He’s been as the saying goes “A friend who sticks closer than a brother”.
Since the day, I came to recognise His presence with me I have found that whilst I would have liked a “bed of roses” it hasn’t always been that way. There have been various times that I have been in “want, facing sickness, I have been saved from certain death on two occasions, I’ve been wrongly imprisoned, in employment and un-employed” but one thing has always been constant, and it is God’s Love and His provision in time of need. I have discovered that God is faithful at all times and He lives up to the statement made about Him in “Hebrews 13: 8” – “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” and also “For I am the LORD, I change not” – “Malachi: 3:6″.
When Jesus came into the world what He brought with Him amongst many things is the reality of coming face to face with the unacceptable alternative of performance-based religion. He doesn’t settle for good actions done for self-righteous reasons. He knows how inclined we are to speak and act in culturally acceptable ways on the outside while hiding hearts that remain largely unchanged on the inside.
Thus, I want us to consider being real with God, not being typically cultural and saying everything is “all right” but facing up to who and what we are and recognising that if we do things in God’s way we will enjoy God’s results – So what do we do?
Kinds of Burdens
- What are the kinds of burdens that we bear?
It’s impossible to enumerate all the various types of burdens that we bear but there are common ones that most of us at one time or another have been part of our experience.
- Burdens to do with our homes and finances.
We find ourselves at this present time in the midst of a world financial collapse; this credit crunch is not some breakfast cereal. Increasingly, every time we listen to the Radio, watch the Television or open a Newspaper there is some reminder of the financial ruin that the vast majority of the world is facing and at the root of it all is our individual greed.
The phrase taken from the Bible and often quoted is “Money is the root of all evil” but that’s not a correct quotation because the Bible actually says, “The LOVE of money is the root of all evil”. And when love for God is replaced by a love for money catastrophe is really the only inevitable outcome from it.
One of the things that has occurred is the inability of people to be able to pay their mortgage and the possibility of repossession. It’s not always a direct result of an individual’s personal greed or avarice, quite often it is the “knock on effect” of the decisions of others and things out of our personal control, but the burden associated with it hits us in just the same way. We like to think that our home is our castle, but the opposite is quite often the truth.
Likewise, redundancies hang like a “sword of Damocles” over the heads of many. I personally have since April 2008 experienced being made redundant on 2 occasions. The result of this is the headache of where the normal necessities of life are going to come from. But, I want to tell you that God is Faithful, and He always keeps His promises.
As a personal testimony I remember a time when I resorted to doing a Kleeneze Round to pay the bills but still it was not enough. I had a £85.00 Electricity Bill to pay and for the once and only time in my entire Christian experience an envelope for an unknown source was put through my letter box with a note in it saying, “God told me to give you this”. What was in it, yes! You’ve guessed £85.00.
- Burdens in connection with the Lords work.
As Christians and especially if we are involved either in “Full Time or Part Time or in positions of Extended Leadership” for the Lord we would like to think that we are immune to problems, however, quite often the direct opposite is true.
All of us have had seasons when we longed to escape from the pressures in our ministry and we find ourselves in good company.
- Time Share – Jeremiah wrote, “Oh that I had in the wilderness lodging place for travellers; that I might leave my people, and go from them! – “Jeremiah 9: 2“.
- Niki Moment – Elijah not only considered running away – he did. Jezebel’s death threat was enough to convince the prophet that it was time to lace up his running shoes and get out of town “1 Kings 19:1-4“.
- Virgin Atlantic Dream – And then there is David the author of “Psalm 55”, who wished for dove’s wings so that he could fly away and be at rest “Verse: 7”.
Thinking of the Virgin Atlantic moment and the wings of a dove, I am reminded of a time when I was at Bible School in the IBTI at the Camp Convention. After the main meeting, everybody gathered together in the smaller tent to eat and fellowship and people would take turns to sing or testify. One woman believed she could sing but was truly mistaken in what was God’s given gift. She stood up to sing “Oh for the wings, for the wings of a dove”. I recall a person behind me saying, “I wish someone would give her a feather and let her go”.
- Valium Script – A worker for Christ by the name of Paul who was high up in the leadership role and called an Apostle speaks of the “persecutions and beatings” he went through as he served Christ. He was a man who had heavy responsibilities because not only did he have one church to look after and administer he had many in “2 Corinthians 11: 28” he says, “Besides everything else, each day I am burdened down, worrying about all the churches” (Contemporary English Version).
Paul although he had this heavy weight of responsibility did not look upon it as simply one who “gets paid to do it” he was not to utilise a Bible phrase a “hireling”. His whole world revolved around the people of God, he acted like a Father to the many people in many congregations and loved them accordingly.
There were many reliant upon him. We all have natural Fathers, but when we find a relationship with Jesus, it is usually via someone who has told us of the experiences they have with Him. Usually afterwards there is someone who mentors and guides they become if you like a “Spiritual Father”. Many looked to Paul as just this and he once said “1 Corinthians 4:15″ – “For though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you have not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel”.
If you are a Father today in the natural sense you will I’m sure recognise what a burden albeit a blessed one it is, and how much more in the spiritual sense.
- Burdens in connection with the physical.
In “2 Corinthians 2: 7” we read” “Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations“ (The Message).
It’s quite possible today that you are suffering physically in some way and that your specific ailment is pressing down upon you and maybe even robbing you of your peace and sleep at night. It could be that you have members of your family, perhaps Children or a Wife or Husband that are captive to some form of sickness.
It’s quite possible that what you are going through is so burdensome that it is robbing you spiritually of the sense of God’s blessing and His grace upon and in your life. Maybe, you are suffering with bereavement, disappointment or mentally you are under pressure because of business difficulties.
The Apostle Paul was in a unique situation in that the “handicap” he had was allowed to remain in order to maintain his humbleness, but his situation was special and individually unique to him. It was never and has not become the desire of God Almighty to either invoke or maintain sickness upon us to “teach us a lesson”. Let me repeat that for you because it is vital that you do not listen to or believe the lie of the devil when he says – God’s desire is to invoke or maintain sickness upon you to “teach you a lesson and to maintain your humbleness”.
If you are a Christian and in a place of sickness, then do not for one moment believe the lies of the devil. Jesus did not go to Calvary and declare, “It is finished” and prove it the case by His resurrection for you to live a life bowed down. The devils purpose is to “Kill, Steal & Lie”
When Jesus died and rose from the dead He gained for you life in abundance, freedom from guilt and the plague of an unrelenting sense of condemnation. He gained for you freedom to enjoy the “liberty of the children of God” and to see the past be left behind.
And so, whether your burden is to do with your (home, job, family, finances, job prospects, persecution, dislocation, poverty or sickness) the Bible being a “down to earth” revelation of God’s dealing with mankind reveals Him as the answer and reliever of our respective needs and woe’s.
Therefore, what should we not do?
- Firstly, We Should not Doubt God
In “Psalm 55: 1” we read “Open your ears, God, to my prayer; don’t pretend you don’t hear me knocking. Come close and whisper your answer”. This prayer by the Psalmist David shows that although he was in the midst of perplexity and overwhelmed by the trials he was experiencing he still knew how to trust God and he leaves for all of us a marvellous example.
If you are anything like me, and I don’t think that I am so very different from anyone else there are times when we are: –
- Prone to doubt God
- Prone to wonder if He is really in control
- Prone to question if He is even listening
- Prone to think He is un-aware of the situation we are in
Doubt however has never brought relief from anything but faith and reliance always does. In fact, doubting only adds to the degree of trial and burden that we face.
- Secondly, We Should not Complain or Indulge in Self Pity
I’m sure that I am speaking for all today when I say that there are times when we “Feel sorry for ourselves” and we complain and moan about our lot in life and the situation in which we find ourselves. I know there have been times that I have, I have woken in the early hours and found myself full of thoughts of self pity and complaint wishing things were different and inwardly moaning about the Lord and His dealings with me (or is that experience only mine)? I don’t really think it is. I’ve entered a day with all the “Would have’s, should have’s and could have’s” only to realise they don’t change a thing.
David had his own pity party when he said, “I am restless and distraught in my complaint and must moan” – “Psalm 55:2″.
However, when we think back has the self pity, moaning and complaining actually added one bit to the relief or answer to our situation, of course not.
- Thirdly, We Must Not Fall into Despair
The dictionary describes despair as “A loss of hope; hopelessness, to lose, to give up, or be without hope”.
We were looking at the Psalmist David earlier and in “Verses 4 & 5″ we read of the despair that was expressed in his life – “My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me”. This is from the King James Version of the Bible in the New Living Translation it is expressed as “My heart pounds in my chest. The terror of death assaults me. Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking” does that sort of heart felt expression have a resonance in your past or present history; I must say it has in my past. We can easily be overwhelmed by imaginary fears in our lives.
At times, life’s pain can become so overwhelming that we are tempted to despair. The apostle Paul told the church at Corinth that his persecution in Asia was so intense he “despaired even of life” – “2 Corinthians 1:8″. When the cares of life overwhelm us, it might seem easier to wish for death than to face the struggle.
Trials can make life seem not worth living. Focusing on ourselves can lead to despair. But putting our trust in God gives us an entirely different perspective. As long as we live in this world, we can be certain of several things “Death and Taxes” being two of them but especially that our all-sufficient God will sustain us. As His followers, we will always have a divine purpose being fulfilled in and through us.
A wise Bible teacher once said, “Sooner or later God will bring self-sufficient people to the place where they have no resource but Him – no strength, no answers, nothing but Him. Without God’s help, they’re sunk.”
I want to tell you right now that: –
- God knows your pain
- He knows your doubts and fears
- He knows that you have difficulties and that you even question Him
When you hear those whispers in your ear, words of condemnation because you are fearful, worried, anxious and even tempted to despair simply resist him as he is a liar and does not recognise or understand the grace of God.
How many of you like the writings of George Elliot? Well! He once said, “What we call despair is often only the painful eagerness of unfed hope.” and I would encourage you to let your hopes fly.
It was George Bernard Shaw who said, “He who has never hoped can never despair.”
The Apostle Paul, David the Psalmist, Elijah the Prophet when running from Jezebel all discovered that by shifting their focus to their life-sustaining God, they could become resilient instead of overwhelmed, and learned that we should not trust in ourselves but in God.
Paul said “It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing” – “2 Corinthians 1: 9″ (The Message).
- We Discover a Need to Accept our Burdens as from the Lord
The word burden means “That which the Lord has given to me” or “A Gift”, I don’t suppose when we have been in a troubled time, and are being put through as it were a “milling” process you are considering your plight as a gift or as a trust from the Lord; however if we can for a few moments find a way to take our eyes and thoughts off the immediate situation and look further out with the “blinkers” removed maybe our perspective would change.
We might realise that as painful an experience it is we are going through we are learning from it. Again, however I want to reiterate that God does not put sickness and grief upon us, our circumstances of life bring them, however through them God reveals His love and Fatherhood to us and it is amazing how His unmerited favour is poured upon us in such circumstances.
The story is told of, Joel Schoon Tanis. He was stuck in a long line at the US-Canada border had to do something to lighten the mood! He reached for his bottles of bubble-making solution, bounded out of the car, and began blowing bubbles. He handed bottles to other drivers too, and he says that “soon there were bubbles everywhere. . .. It’s amazing what bubbles do for people.” The line didn’t move any faster, but “suddenly everyone was happy,” Joel said.
“What we see depends mainly on what we look for,” said British statesman John Lubbock (1834–1913). A good attitude and the right focus help us to handle life joyfully, even though it doesn’t change our circumstances.
The Apostle Paul who we were considering earlier encouraged the Corinthians in their trials; he said “Do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” – “2 Corinthians 4:18″.
So, what’s unseen and eternal that we can look at? The character of God is an excellent place to focus.
- He is good (Psalm 25:8)
- He is just (Isaiah 30:18)
- He is forgiving (1 John 1:9)
- He is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9)
The things we go through as God’s Children don’t “just happen” they do not come about “by accident” it is not “just one of those things” and “bad luck”. We have one who is in control, it is He that governs our lives and even when we step outside of His perfect will for us and cause ourselves pain and grief He takes the broken pieces of our lives and restores, mends, repairs and heals. He pours in Oil to the wounds and binds us up.
An unusual expression of thought is spoken by the Psalmist David in “Psalm 55: 19” – “men who never change their ways and have no fear of God”. It relates to that which he was and had learned through his experiences. Nothing happens in your life and mine except the Lord has allowed it, now note I did not say gave or did it, No! I said allowed it.
Again, another story is told of a Joni Eareckson Tada, disabled as a teenager in a diving accident, she has been a paraplegic for over 40 years. One would imagine that her greatest longing would be the ability to walk, to run, free from the confinement of her wheelchair. But Joni says that her greatest desire is to offer a “praise that is pure.” She explains: “I won’t be crippled by distractions, or disabled by insincerity. I won’t be handicapped by a ho-hum half-heartedness. My heart will join with yours and bubble over with effervescent adoration. We will finally be able to fellowship fully with the Father and the Son. For me, this will be the best part of heaven.”
How that speaks to my divided heart and grips my unfocused spirit! What a blessing to offer “a praise that is pure,” with no wandering thoughts, no self-centred requests, no inability to soar above my earth-bound language!
The Devil has an on-going mission to “Kill, Steal & Destroy” he has been up to it for millenniums and will continue to do so until the time of his imprisonment comes. However why does the Lord allow things to collide into our lives.
David stated that if we never experience change, if things do not happen in our lives both for good and bad then we never learn to respect the Lord or appreciate His goodness in our lives.
- We Discover a Need to Cast our Burdens on the Lord
The word cast literally in the Bible means to Fling or Hurl, and in light of our considerations together, it is indicative of affirmative and positive actions on our part. We can either be under them or over them the decision rests with us, but our destiny is to reign in life over them even as “Ephesians 2 – 6 to 8” says “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith”
In “Daniel 6: 7 to 16″ we read of Daniel being cast into prison. Daniel even before lions surrounded him had every reason to bemoan his situation and to complain and cry “woe is me” but he didn’t because he recognised that God was in control he prayed and realised that he was “under the shadow of the almighty” and whilst he naturally was fearful his trust was in the Lord.
In “Matthew 4: 12“ we read of John the Baptist, he had plenty of reason to worry. He was in prison and albeit it under threat of his life being taken, resisted self-pity and moaning and he cast his burden upon God.
“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 to 30″. These are the words of Jesus and I’m going to challenge you right now to take a symbolic step of faith.
- Are you tired?
- Worn out?
- Burned out on religion?
- Sick in Body?
- Anxious of mind?
- Feeling emotionally a wreck?
Come to me is what Jesus says. “Get away with me and you’ll recover your life”. Jesus says, “I’ll show you how to take a real rest” He says “walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you”. “Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly”. Is this the sort of life you want to live, I’m sure it is.
- We Discover that we Need to Leave our Burdens with the Lord
If you and I really believe that “we are not our own and that we have been bought with a price” then when we have cast our burdens upon the Lord, they are no longer our responsibility they are His.
As Christians we live a “Yo Yo” experience so often in respect of our fears and worries, and don’t get me wrong I am not criticising here, we give our burden to the Lord and then remember that there was a string attached to it and when He tries our patience or the enemy whispers falsehoods in our ears we start to drag them back.
I would say to you today take the “Scissors of Faith” and cut those strings. He will sustain you.
You may find yourself feeling that your life is far from satisfactory. You may have had a comfortable position in respect of your finances, felt secure in your employment. Your family, children and marriage may have all look great but then catastrophe happened.
Today on the outside, you are putting on a “brave face” but inside again you are terrified. Likewise, today all or some of the areas I mentioned are totally turned around and you are filled with a sense of hopelessness – Well! Let me tell you that today you are in the right place because either way we have the answer to your need.
- Are you sick in body today?
- Is your life going off the rails and heading for a train wreck?
- Do you find yourself confused, broken, tired?
If so your need can be met in Jesus. Whatever you are going through I want you to know that God knows, and not only that God cares intensely about you.
“Jesus is the best person to help us overcome whatever has overtaken us”
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