The barrier that keeps us from prayer is not whether or not we think God is strong enough to help us, but whether we are humble enough to bow the knee and admit that we need help. Many of us, however, distance ourselves from God, wondering if He is really interested in us because of who we are. Yes, we know our imperfections better than we know God’s strength and compassion. So we feed the nagging voice of doubt and withdraw into our cave of lonely isolation.
David, a man whose triumphs and failures cover a vast spectrum, once cried out, “Praise be to the LORD, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens” (Psalm 68:19). Stop. What exactly is a burden? It’s a load you carry, whether it is physical, emotional, or spiritual. It’s something that keeps you from being at your best. It can be a persistent, nagging problem, or something which confronts you in life which you didn’t choose–the care of an elderly parent, a problem with your health, a physical impairment that leaves you somewhat handicapped.
But does God actually bear our burdens? And if so, what does that mean? First–it means that He cares, that He is not indifferent to what is happening to you. The book of Hebrews tells us that nothing is hidden from him and everything is seen by Him. The words nothing and everything stand in sharp contrast. Most of the time we immediately think that God is observing and noting our failures. Yes, but it also means He knows the desires of your heart, your struggles to do right, and the sensitivity which brings you to your knees to find greater strength and forgiveness when you fall.
Only someone who has a sincere, compassionate interest in another cares enough to bear your load and to help you. Sometimes God works through a friend; sometimes He works through His Word, sometimes He actually comes alongside and touches your heart in such a way that you walk away uplifted, joyful, and relieved of your burden.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
Paul told the Galatians they were to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). The Greek word that Paul used means to bear a heavy weight, or something difficult. It came from the same root that means “to reach deep within something.” Ah, that’s an interesting thought. A real friend doesn’t let you get away with an “Everything’s just fine!” response to the question of “How are you?” when worry and turmoil are written in the lines of your face. He insists you tell him where you are hurting.
In another psalm, David wrote, “Cast your cares [burdens is another translation] on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22). This, of course, means that you are the one who has to humbly bow and say, “Lord, I need your help!”
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28), and there you have the concept of laying your burden at the feet of the Shepherd of your soul.
In one of her books, Hannah Whitall Smith tells of a young man bearing a heavy load on his back walking on a country road as a farmer passes by with an empty wagon. “I’ll give you a lift,” volunteers the farmer; whereupon, the lad climbs up on the empty wagon but doesn’t remove his load. “Set down your load,” he invites, and the youth remonstrates, “Oh, no sir. It is too much to expect you to carry both me and my load.”
Are you carrying a heavy load? Only you prevent God’s help in bearing that load for you every single day. Think about it.
Resource reading: 1 Peter 5:6-11