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Taking Care of Burdens

By Charles F. Stanley

We were not designed to carry the weight of our own struggles.

Have you ever watched people endure painful burdens and heartache in life? If so, you might have noticed that some face trials with a remarkably positive attitude while others are shattered by their difficulties. Since no one's life is entirely free of hardships, it is important to understand how God wants us to bear them.

There are three different sources for the struggles we encounter. Sometimes they are situations we bring upon ourselves, while other times they are purely the work of the Devil. Some tests, meanwhile, come directly from God's hand.

Our challenges vary greatly: a single Christian mom may have the awesome responsibility of raising children in an ungodly world that seeks to destroy them; an angry misunderstanding may leave the head of a household without a job; or a past sin can result in deep scars of guilt that weigh a person down. Regardless of the type of problem or its source, the question is, How are we to handle the burdens that come our way?

Jesus never vows to totally remove our difficulty, but He promises to deal with our trial in such a way that we no longer have to carry its weight. Some distressing situations—like terminal illness, caring for a disabled relative, or the death of a loved one—are permanent, as far as this life is concerned. Some people might find the idea of an ongoing trial discouraging, but the Christian must remember that we are not to handle these matters in our own strength. God wants to lift our load and carry it for us. He personally invites every one of us who is weary to find refreshment in Him. (1 John 5:3)

Of course, all of us would prefer to bypass painful circumstances, but the Lord knows that our hardships and heartaches—the things we are unable to handle on our own—form the fertile soil for our spiritual growth and increasing dependence upon Him. How can we know Jesus Christ as the burden-bearer unless we get under a burden ourselves, try to deal with it our own way, and then experience the relief of letting Him carry its weight?

Oftentimes, the difficulties God has sent or allowed in my life have been so unpleasant that I prayed He would remove them. However, when I looked back later and realized all that my suffering had taught me about the Lord, I prayed, "Thank You that You knew better than I did. Thank You for not making it easy."

It goes without saying that we all prefer a comfortable and trouble-free life, but what we have to ask is, Do I want what the flesh wants, which is ease, comfort, and pleasure, or do I want to become the godly person God wants me to be? It's a choice all believers have to make.

At the same time, while hardships are to be expected, we should recognize God never intended that the Christian life itself be difficult. (John 16:33) He wants us to know that, no matter what our burden is, when we come to Him, He will lift the weight of it if we allow Him to do so.

Whenever you are dealing with a heavy burden, turn to Matthew 11:28-30 for God's wisdom on how to proceed: "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." From this passage, we can learn four steps to take.

Humble Yourself. It is humbling to admit you are struggling with a problem you cannot handle. Some people will not let down their façade of being in control; they insist they can and will handle the situation, no matter what. But there are burdens in life that no person in his or her own strength can bear successfully. Why do you think drugs are so prevalent and bars are full? There is nothing happy about "Happy Hour," which caters to people trying to run from inescapable burdens. The world's answer is often to seek help by means of substances, a new relationship, or perhaps a dishonest act or statement—none of these work.

God's solution, on the other hand, is simply "Come." Christ is the one-stop place for burdens—He and He alone is able to deal with your affliction, but first you must admit that you have the problem. True humility, in fact, occasionally involves more than opening up to the Lord; He may also want you to share your burden with someone He has sent to help you carry it. Oftentimes the barrier to God's help is that we are too proud.

Submit. After talking about our being heavy-laden, Jesus says, "Take My yoke upon you." His audience's first reaction must have been, "Wait a minute! He is making His appeal to people who feel burdened under the weight of life's cares, and He says to take a yoke upon us?" The piece of equipment described here was a wood log shaped to harness two oxen and keep them locked together so that they share the load being carried. In the Scriptures, a yoke also implied slavery or an obligation. But Jesus is not speaking of adding to our burden. Instead, He is telling us to submit to His will; then, when we get in the yoke with Him, we can walk together and pull together. In fact, when we submit to Christ, our load will lighten because our omnipotent Lord will bear the weight of it.

However, we cannot simply cast our care upon the Lord and walk away, free of the burden—that is not how God works. We must also submit ourselves to Him. After all, what are burdens? They are not just problems that can be surgically eliminated from our life; rather, they are the way we think and the feelings that weigh us down. The only way the Lord will lift your burden is by getting under the load with you; then when you submit yourself to Him, He will begin to control you! The weight of your problem will eventually disappear because you will start responding to your situation in a totally different fashion. If you want Him to take your burden, He must have all of you, not simply the problem you want removed. As you allow Christ to control you, He will, in fact, be dealing with your burden.

Learn of Him. Jesus tells us that He wants us to walk in unison with Him under His yoke of love. We can move in step with the Lord only as we learn about who He is, which is prerequisite to our being able to obey Him. It would be a terrible contradiction to think that we could unload our heartaches and problems on God and then proceed to live any sinful way we want. The reason we keep living under the weight of burdens is that we are not submissive to Him, but rather insist on having our own way.

If a Christian sins against the Lord, the Holy Spirit will convict that person of wrongdoing. All of a sudden, there will be no peace, no joy, and no fellowship with the heavenly Father. It becomes painfully obvious that something is wrong as the child of God feels a burden of conviction. In order to be released from the weight of that load, the believer may need to make a specific decision to end a behavior that he or she would prefer to continue.

Trust. While God does not say He will remove the burden, verse 29 promises what He will give: rest for our soul. Lugging around a weighty problem is like taking a mountain hike with a 100-pound knapsack strapped to our back—before long, we become fatigued and discouraged, and we can easily start to despair. Our caring Father offers relief so that we will no longer be worn and weary. As you trust God and begin to act on His most generous offer, you place yourself in a position to receive His promised blessings.

Trusting God with our burden does not mean we will never give another thought to the situation. Rather, we will start thinking about it in a new light: the light of the person of Jesus Christ, who is our sufficiency; the light of the promises of God, who has pledged not to let the righteous be shaken (Psalm 55:22); the light of His power, which allows you to tackle the challenge and keep going. Trusting God lessens our load.

Are you carrying an oppressive burden today? Jesus Christ is offering you another way. Remember that His yoke is light. It will not bend you, break you, or destroy you. On the contrary, submission to the Lord will actually lift you up. Let God take the weight of the burden you were never meant to carry by yourself. In exchange, He will give you the Holy Spirit's power to enable you to face any of life's challenges.

 

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Copyright 2014 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

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22 comments
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  • February 08, 2013 01:39 PM

    by

    God Bless you,great sermon changing each one of our life.Pastor i shared with my firends some of your sermons.
  • February 07, 2013 01:31 PM

    by

    Thank for deepen thing of God to share that I learned something years back by the power of the Holy Spirit had moved in my life. I made some mistake, Holy Spirit convicts me of my sin that shocked me and feel scare. few months later The Lord come to comforted me to let me know that they (God/Jesus) abide in my life! What a awesome with blessing! Thank Charles for broad with deep down had helped me to understand better!

    Colleen Simsa
    Traverse City, MI
  • February 05, 2013 11:43 AM

    by

    Dr. Stanley. Thank you for these words of encourgagement based on the Word of God to ease our burdens. Today, I experienced the temporary loss of a family member to incarceration. It is easy to experience feelings of emptiness and hopelessness, But this message offers words to ease the pain and burden I feel and to begin the healing process.
  • February 04, 2013 10:48 PM

    by

    Your teaching is awesome and amazing. It feeds me and causes me to grow and become more like Jesus. Thank you! God Bless!
  • February 04, 2013 01:08 PM

    by

    I lost my job due to "an angry misunderstanding." You article cold not have come at a more perfect time. Thanks be to God!
  • February 04, 2013 01:32 AM

    by

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful message of truth with us.
  • February 04, 2013 12:47 AM

    by

    THANK U DR STAN,FOR REMINDING US HOW GOD IS ALLOWING US TO WALK BY RIGHTEOUS WAYS,AND HE IS ALWAYS THERE BESIDE US TO CARRY OUR BURDEN.
  • February 03, 2013 05:59 PM

    by

    I'm still learning how to submit!! Thank Dr. Stanley for this timely and confirming post.
  • February 03, 2013 04:54 PM

    by

    Thank you Dr. Stanley. I have had four deaths in 10 years and without my faith I never would have been able to handle it. I know Jesus was at my side helping me through the pain and loss. You can't ask for better than that. I have been blessed to know Jesus as my savior.
  • February 03, 2013 01:13 PM

    by

    Grea article. It helps explain all of the steps necessary for us to submit our burdens to God.
    I realize that I need to do more than just give my problems to God. I need to walk in Him as He helps me get through them.
  • February 03, 2013 10:53 AM

    by

    Thank you. Suffering seems to be endless and difficult, but for our Father nothing is impossible!
  • February 03, 2013 10:36 AM

    by

    I thank you very much for this encouraging word of absolutely truth in God's Word to us to trust in Him and have faith that any burdens we are carrying to give to Him so we may have peace and joy to enjoy this short life on earth.
  • February 03, 2013 08:24 AM

    by

    I know the plans I have for you says the Lord
  • February 03, 2013 08:22 AM

    by

    This sermon hit me right in the heart. For myself and my husband. Now is the time for me to let everything go onto the hands of Jesus. Not just one, but all these sins and incumbents seem to be part of my life. No time like now to clean my heart and my life. Thank you for being led by the spirit and teaching us on the truth. Kim
  • February 03, 2013 07:36 AM

    by

    God Bless You Greatly! This article woke me up in a way that I can actually feel Gods presences in me in a special way! releasing my burden upon God's shoulders brings me comfort n more faith on how powerful our God is...But I must submit to God with all of my mights! because God knows my present living and future outgoing life. Thank You my God for your Love and Mercy.
  • February 03, 2013 06:59 AM

    by

    This article came at the right time. In search for answers, your articles, magazines, and daily emails really do comfort me with the understanding that God communicates through you to us. And having InTouch Ministries pour out the available resources is a tremendous help to the core.....and thank you again so much for all your wonderful help in understanding the Word of God.
  • February 03, 2013 06:21 AM

    by

    Thanks! What a great reminder to follow God's commandments.
  • May 24, 2012 10:32 AM

    by

    Bless you for reminding us of this ever present help we sometimes underestimate.
  • May 22, 2012 11:59 AM

    by

    This is food for the soul. I can feel an overwhelming sense of God's prescence as I read it and enter the scriptures. My trial is long and complex on many levels and beyong my control. Thank you Dr Charles Stanley. I need this every day!
  • March 14, 2011 11:08 PM

    by

    Thank you Dr Stanley for this very uplifting article, and for telling us that God is always there to help us carry our burden if only we will let him.
  • March 11, 2011 07:05 AM

    by

    It is so soothing...thank you.
  • October 18, 2010 04:36 AM

    by

    Very deep and uplifting.
    Thanks

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