"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens."
- Psalm 68:19 NIV
When our oldest son was just a toddler, my husband, Joe, and I moved to a small house in an isolated community many miles away from our families. Joe was working two jobs, and spending hours a day commuting, and the loneliness that I experienced often seemed unbearable. After we had our second child, my life became even more restricted, and I was plunged into a pit of despair. Out of desperation, I sought counseling, which helped to some extent. But I never found the inner relief and release that every fiber of my being longed for.
I thought about these sad circumstances the other day, when those old feelings of oppression began to assail me. I remembered how--because of my lack of an intimate relationship with God, and of a knowledge of His Word--I was ill-equipped to fend off these negative emotions. As I thought and prayed about it, the Lord led me to Psalm 55. Here, David says: "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest." (Psalm 55:6-8 NKJV) Those many years ago, I desperately wanted to escape my life and my circumstances, and to "fly away and be at rest," far from everything and everyone. Now, I was facing some of those same feelings again, and I searched the Word of God for answers. They came within the verses of this Spirit-inspired psalm. "Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall." (Psalm 55:22 NIV) If I wanted to experience the peace and well-being that Jesus bought for me on Calvary, then I had to stop trying to shoulder my burdens alone, and I needed to surrender them to the Lord. The Amplified version of this verse spoke to my heart in an even more powerful way. "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)." (Psalm 55:22 AMP) God wants to lift the "weight" of our cares and burdens from us, but He requires our cooperation. We must go to Him and tell Him exactly how we're feeling, and we must ask for His help. It won't do for us to just "dump" our cares and burdens on Him. We must surrender them to Him, along with our very selves. He longs for us to say: "Lord, I can't handle these things alone, so I'm giving them to You, and I'm willing to do things Your way from now on."
Jesus said: "Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT) Here is the Savior's divine recipe for the abundant life He came to give us. As we go to Him with all of our cares, concerns, and burdens, and as we spend time with Him each day--letting Him teach us how to live His way--we will experience the supernatural peace and joy that can only come from Him.
David ends Psalm 55 with a simple, but profound, statement: "I will trust in You." (Psalm 55:23 NASB) We are never going to truly commit ourselves and our concerns to the Lord if we don't really trust Him. Either we believe that God always has our best interests at heart, or we don't. When we struggle with doubt, if we'll be quick to confess it as sin, and to ask for the Lord's help to believe, we will discover how eager He is to answer this kind of plea. Maybe you are in a situation today where you are feeling burdened, and you desperately want to escape. I pray that you will turn to the Lord with all your heart, and discover the truth of His precious promise--"The Lord lifts the burdens of those bent beneath their loads." (Psalm 146:8 NLT)
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I've doubted Your goodness, and have tried to shoulder my cares and burdens alone. I surrender myself and my concerns to You now, and I ask that You teach me how to live Your way. Thank You that as I wholeheartedly follow Your lead, I will experience the abundant peace and joy that You have for me!
- J. M. Farro