I've been thinking about burdens lately.
About all that stuff we carry around – the worries and fears, the hopes and dreams, the million and a half things we do, thoughts and feelings, guilt about the past, concerns about the future, the people we care about, money and health…
Sorry, I got carried away!
But you know what I'm talking about. The list that could go on and on.
It's a heavy load.
And I know that I'm supposed to take it to the Lord.
Got to thinking about that, too.
What exactly does that mean?
I asked the Lord to give me some insight. And He did (He's like that, you know!). And I realized that there are stages to "taking it to the cross."
1. You've got to be in Jerusalem.
What do I mean by that? Well, you've got to be in the Lord's presence. It isn't enough to attend that weekly Bible Study. It isn't enough to go to hear that weekly sermon. It isn't enough to do all those "churchly" activities that we do. Those things are all so important, yes. But they're not enough when it comes to burdens. To be in Jerusalem, you have to spend time in the Word. You need to enter the city of Scripture, and you need to do it as a discipline – every day.
"Good enough, Lord. Right?"
"No, not quite…"
2. You've got to come to the cross.
OK, you're having a quiet time in the Word every day. Wonderful! That’s a tremendous start! But, there's more. We have to take those burdens to the cross. We have to talk to God about them. This is the step of prayer. I'm not talking about all those pretty, nice, all "tied up in a bow" prayers. I'm talking about "David" prayers. The kind I read in Psalms. The gut-wrenching, nitty-gritty, appallingly honest prayers. The ones that come from the soul. The ones when we pour out our hearts. We don't pull punches. We tell God everything.
"OK, Lord. This is what you want, right?"
"You're getting warmer…"
3. You've got to kneel.
So, we're at the cross, holding on to all those burdens and cares. But in our hearts, we're still standing. We've got to kneel down. We must acknowledge the Sovereignty of our Lord. We have to believe that He alone knows what is best for us and those we love. We must not lean on our own understanding - we must believe that He is all-knowing and wise. We have to humble ourselves. We have to let go of pride, and realize that He is Almighty.
"Oh, Lord – this was tough. But I'm on my knees. Now I've got it, right?"
"You’re getting it right – but there's more…"
4. You've got to lay your burdens down.
It isn't enough if I pray about things – and never really understand that I don't have control over them. I must go beyond having God just be my "listening ear" – I have to let him be God. God in control – not my will, but Thine be done. Here's where many of us struggle. Letting go. Realizing how we're really just little *control freaks* in disguise. Going through all the motions, and yet, never really turning over all those burdens to the Lord. Releasing them into His care. Relinquishing, surrendering. Turning them over to Him in faith.
"Lord, you see my tears. I've laid these things at Your cross. What more do You want??"
"Dear child, just one more thing…"
5. You've got to walk away.
This is the hardest step of all. We can have our daily time in the Word, we can pray to the Lord about all our stuff. We can kneel in His presence, and give Him our burdens. But then, He asks us to walk away. To not just give them to Him – but to leave them with Him. How often are we tempted to go and just "straighten" a few of those things out? How often do we sneak some of them back into our arms? How often do we tire of waiting for Him to act? How often are we tempted to just scoop the whole mess up and stomp off in frustration? I've done all of those things. But God asks me to trust Him – completely. He asks me to bring my burdens to the cross, lay them down, and walk away.
"Lord, it's so hard to walk away from these things. So very hard to walk away."
"Don't worry, I'm walking away with you…"
Dear friends, what are you doing with your burdens?
Can you hear God calling you to take the next step?
"Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully." (1 Peter 5:7 – Amplified Bible)
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