Burdens seem heavy and overbearing, like a ton of bricks on our shoulders. Although often invisible to the outside world, they weigh us down. And interestingly, in the long-haul of a far-reaching pandemic, I️ would say this is how many of us feel right now. WE.ARE.TIRED.
A GREAT INVITATION
With the daily barrage of bad news escalating around the world, we can easily feel downtrodden. Fires. Hurricanes. Unrest. Sickness. Death. To name a few. For it seems that everywhere we turn, there is yet another burden that we pile on.
And yet, God promises us that His burden is light. God invites us to come to Him to find rest. Think about this extraordinary invitation for just a moment. Not only are we permitted to come before the throne room of our Heavenly Father, but we also are invited. In such tenderness, God commands us to bring all of our cares and worries to Him.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29
We have an invitation for the Good Shepherd to lead us through the dark valley (Psalm 23), the Mighty Warrior to fight our battles on our behalf (Exodus 14:14), the Bridegroom to take our troubles as His own (Ephesians 5:25-27), and a Protector to hide us under his wing (Psalm 91:4).
WHY, THEN, DO WE ALLOW FEAR TO CREEP IN?
In Nehemiah 2, we see a man of God who is prayed up. He has wept & mourned & fasted & prayed over the torn down walls of Jerusalem. His heart breaks for his people to be protected and for the walls to be rebuilt. But, we catch a glimpse of his humanity in Nehemiah 2 (please read it along with me). When allowed to share his request with the king, we see that “he is very much afraid.”
Now, Nehemiah has great reason to be afraid. Ezra 4:7-23 speaks of King Artaxerxes’ prior decree ordering the rebuilding to come to a screeching halt. Of course, Nehemiah worries that it will happen again.
Often, we hold back from taking our request to the Heavenly King for the same reason. We’re afraid our past failures, hurts, weaknesses, and struggles will be laid bare. We project the past onto our present. Or, we assume the worst-case scenario will occur. Maybe we’re afraid that God will not answer? Maybe deep down, we don’t think that God cares?
NOTHING IS TOO BIG FOR GOD
Rather than handing our worries over to God, we try to handle things on our own. But honestly, our shoulders are not wide enough to carry the burden. They never were intended for this role set-aside for God alone. Nothing is too big for God. Nor is anything too small.
Eventually, after four months, Nehemiah bolsters up the courage to share his request with the king. God often uses the precious gift of time to work on our hearts, allowing us to reach true surrender. Only after continual asking do we experience “the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
Like Nehemiah, we need to go to our Heavenly King and make our requests known. Don’t allow fear to get in the way. God already knows your request but is waiting for you to hand it completely over to Him.
If the burden still is heavy, continue to press in. Often through the persevering prayer, we encounter a deeper relationship with God. Keep praying until you are finally ready to utter the words, “Thy will be done.”