Learning to Bear Burdens
I have been thinking a ton lately about bearing the burdens of others. As a family we have been praying much for the healing of Matt Chandler. We have also been praying for several guys on staff at The Village and their families. Our prayers have simply been the following:
Papa, please make Your thoughts their thoughts. Make Your feelings their feelings. Give them a peace that will surpass all understanding that guards both their heart and mind in You.
As I have prayed this for each of them I have realized how much of a distorted view of carrying a burden I possess. Many times I have looked at it as asking God to take the persons “burden” and pass it to me. The problem is that it would crush me, so I definitely would not be carrying it well.
He has been teaching me the only way to properly carry a burden is to look at Him and ask Him to take it from the person. It does not have to do with the burden being “taken on” in order to relieve the other person because of my ability to carry their burden. After all, this is still practical atheism. God has nothing to do with that thought process.
He asks us to intercede in such a way that the relief people experience is MAINLY from Him, not my prayer. If it is any other way I am focused mainly on my glory and ability in prayer and not looking for Him to be all in all. Let me give a word picture (although analogies breakdown).
A little boy and his friend were playing outside in the woods. Lightening struck a tree and it fell over on the little boys friend. The little boy runs to His daddy, who is the world’s strongest man, and says, “Daddy, My friend is being crushed by a tree in the woods! Please come and help! I KNOW you can lift the tree.” The father quickly runs out and lifts the tree off the friend and brings him to safety. As the boy recovers, they both constantly talk about the father and what he did.
Let’s look at a few things in this analogy.
First of all, in a situation like this the father does not begrudgingly come to help. It is his good pleasure (Mt. 7:7-11). He is fully confident in His own strength. The strength of the Father should give us a source of comfort and confidence. He is not like the father who hates to be interrupted in the middle of a college football game to come and help!
Next, the son knew exactly where to go. He did not take time to try and lift the tree. He knew it was hopeless, yet it did not cause TOTAL hopelessness. His lack of ability caused him to seek out someone greater than himself. This is the call of truly “carrying a burden”. We are to seek out Him who is truly greater than us and ask Him to lift the burden. After all, HE IS INFINTELY STRONG!
Finally, notice how the relief of the injured child and the relief of the son was found in the work of the Father. The strength of the father produced an intense confidence that culminated in His praise. It would have been ludicrous for the son to turn toward his friend and start talking about how great he was because he ran to his father and THAT ACTION is what saved the boy. It is not that the action was not important it just was not the saving source of the boy. The father was.
The size and weight of the tree was not mainly the focus either. The problem was not the focus. Looking at the power of the tree would not have saved the boy. The focus was the father. His strength. His compassion. His love. His power.
As we think about “carrying burdens” for others I pray we will mainly look to Him who is infinitely stronger, more loving, more compassionate, and more powerful than we will ever be. As we pray for others, I pray our focus would be on our Father in Heaven who feels infinitely stronger about every situation than we will ever feel. Pray for all those involved in this situation with Matt. Yet, pray in such a way that the way you carry the burden is by Ps. 37:5.
“Commit your ways to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.”