“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.” — Psalm 55:22
Just a few days ago, God took a burden from me. I guess I should say I finally released it to Him, and of course he provided peace about it. Pat and I have been trying to decide whether or not to go on a mission trip this summer with our church to Haiti. We met with one of our pastors to get more details on the trip and he prayed with us about the decision, asking God to give us peace. I felt as if I had finally given God the burden of making this decision.
Later that evening I was sitting outside and I sensed God speak to my heart that we shouldn’t go on this trip. I went in and told Pat and he said that he felt the same. There was much peace about our decision – even though we really wanted to be a part of this trip.
I was reminded of how many times God has sustained me through difficult times or decisions. Back in 2006 Pat and I were beginning the process of adoption. We had spent the year prior caring for a two-year old who we had hoped to adopt. After a year it was decided that his mom was able to care for him and so we had to say goodbye.
I longed to be a mom and was ready to jump into the adoption process with both feet. However, I just didn’t have complete peace about submitting our application and fees to the adoption agency. But I couldn’t bring myself to admit that God was telling us to wait. And not just wait but to wait a year before beginning the adoption process. I knew this couldn’t be right and so I fought against what God was telling me. One night I finally cried out to God and released this burden to Him. I told him that I was done trying to figure it out and asked him to clearly tell me what we were to do. I went into the living room where Pat was and I said to him that we needed to make a decision as the adoption agency needed our paperwork. Without knowing how God had been speaking to me he said, I think we should wait a year.
I broke down crying – not because I was sad, but because I had such a peace that God had spoken to both of us, reminding us of his promise to sustain us through any burden. God also sustained that peace for us – throughout that entire year of waiting, we had complete peace about the decision to not proceed with adoption.
Of course, a year later, almost to the exact day, we began the adoption process again and a few months later, God blessed us with our precious daughter Angel.
As I was writing this devotion, I was reminded of something I read from Beth Moore’s blog. She was reflecting on this scripture and I want to share a little bit of her post:
This morning I opened up The NET Bible and read a large portion of Psalm 55. When I got to verse 22, I sat tight on the NET translation:
“Throw your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you.
Maybe you’re visual, too, and right about now you’re picturing throwing. Like hauling off and throwing something as hard as you can. And maybe getting a little frustration and madness out of your soul while you’re at it. Maybe crying while you’re doing it. Even out loud.
Before you’re tempted to hold it to your chest and suffocate yourself nearly to death with it.
Then something else spoke to me. A footnote focused on the word “you” at the end of the phrase “Throw your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you.” The footnote said:
“The pronoun is singular; the psalmist addresses each member of his audience individually.”
Individually. We EACH have the invitation to throw our burdens upon the Lord and let Him sustain us. Not the “we” of us. The “you” and “me” of us. We also each have the responsibility. In other words, no one can throw our burden on the Lord for us. We can’t call in a relief pitcher. Don’t misunderstand. We can certainly call upon people to pray for us and with us and the New Testament adamantly tells us to carry one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) but listen. There is a difference between a burden that is entrusted for us in a season that we are to partner in sharing and carrying. Say, for instance, a long term illness or thorn in the flesh. But the part of the burden that we are inadvertently – even accidentally – playing God over needs to be THROWN. The part we’re suffocating under because we’re no longer walking, we’re laying down with it on top of us, needs to be thrown.
I hadn’t read this post of Beth’s since she first posted it back in May, 2012. Of course, I had no idea at the time how many burdens God would want me to throw to Him the past three years. There is such an overwhelming peace when we acknowledge this gift of throwing our burdens to God. I just love the visual of that.
In fact, it brings me back to my track and field days during high school.
My brother was an All-American cross-country runner and if you’ve read my blog, you are probably familiar with his success as a college coach. Unfortunately, I did not inherit the running genes. I have run before (in fact Pat and I recently started running again and it makes me so happy!), in fact I’ve run a half-marathon. However, my time for the half marathon was almost the exact same time as my brother’s time for a full marathon.
I couldn’t let my inability to run
fast keep me from the track team, so I decided to join the weight team and throw shot put. Of course, I didn’t throw it very far, but all I really cared about was being able to go on the road trips and hang out with my friends. Even though I was probably the worst shot putter in the history of the world, it was pretty exhilarating throwing the shot put. I think about that now as I imagine heaving my burdens to God. There is a joy and exhilaration in knowing that I can completely release them to God.
I am also thankful that there is no burden too heavy or too light. It’s maybe a little easier to throw the real heavy burdens to God – but the so-called light burdens – the burdens we think we should just be able to handle – it’s often hard to humble ourselves and release those to God.
I encourage you to reflect on this scripture and ask God to reveal to you what burdens you need to throw His way.
Throw your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you.