Cast or Carry?

Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you. –Psalm 55:22 ESV

I recently read about a 25-year-old Army veteran suffering from degenerative arthritis.

“Arthritis is supposed to happen when you get old,” he told a Seattle Times reporter. “What’s it going to be like when I’m 50 or 60?”

The arthritis has caused painful bone spurs in the vertebrae in his neck and can be traced to carrying 70 to 80 pounds of equipment when he served in Iraq.

The human body is just not made to lift and carry heavy loads. Even with training, you can only carry so much.

Likewise, the human spirit can only carry so much for so long.

Burdens. Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. We all have to deal with them. It comes with living in this world.

How do we deal with burdens?

According to my Bible, we either carry them or cast them.

Take Moses, for example. He carried the burden of leading the contrary, complaining people of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land.

“You lay the burden of all these people on me,” he said to God at one point.

So God told him to select 70 men from the elders. “I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone” (Numbers 11:17).

We are not meant to bear our burdens alone.

“Bear one another’s burdens,” God’s Word instructs us, “and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

Isn’t it so much easier when even one person comes alongside us and helps us? The thing about helping others is that when we get our minds off our own burdens and help someone else with theirs, ours don’t seem to be as heavy.

And then there’s Jesus. “Come to me,” He says, “all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

How do we give Jesus our burdens to carry?

We cast them on Him.

“Cast your burden on the Lord,” David tells us, “and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22).

And if anyone had burdens to bear, it was him. Anointed king over Israel, David spent years in the wilderness, hiding in caves, fleeing from the murderous King Saul. And when he did become king, his own son attempted to usurp the throne. Yet read the psalms of David, and you’ll see he learned to cast his burdens on the Lord.

Peter tells us to “cast all your anxieties (cares, worries) on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

How do you cast your worries on God, give your burden to Jesus to carry?

First, refuse to allow your mind to dwell on your anxieties. Acknowledge them, don’t deny them, and release them through prayer (see Philippians 4:6–7). Imagine them soaring up to heaven, where God will take care of them, in His way and in His time.

Replace your worried thoughts with thoughts that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).

Celebrate the good things in your life. Keep a gratitude journal and write in it every day. And rejoice!

I’m still working on learning how to cast my cares on God, completely.

What burdens do you need to release to Him?

Help me, Lord, to cast all my care on You every moment of every day. Show me someone who needs help carrying their burden. Amen.

Read and meditate on Matthew 11:28–29.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

 

Upheaval!

Stuff from two bedrooms, my study, and the hall jam-packs the dining room in preparation for new carpeting.

Let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God. –2 Corinthians 7:1 NLT

 My entire house is in a state of upheaval.

Blame it on the much-needed new carpeting. While I knew everything – and I mean everything – had to be removed from the three rooms and hall, I was clueless how much stuff we’d accumulated over the years.

My study was the worst. A year ago I started cleaning and organizing it. I got as far as packing things in boxes and creating a pile of I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with, I’ll-get-to-it-later stuff. The disorganized mess got so bad I closed the door when company came and ignored it the rest of the time. Which was getting harder to do since the only clear floor space was a narrow walkway from the door to my computer desk, a distance of three steps.

When the time came to prepare for the new carpeting, I simply dumped the stuff into boxes and bins and transferred the chaos to the dining room.

I know it’ll take time to go through it all, so I’m practicing patience. After all, it was impatience that bred the mess. Little by little, box by box, bin by bin, day by day, I’m sorting through everything – and asking myself why I held on to all that stuff. Most of the items I’d forgotten I had.

We all have areas like that, don’t we? A closet, a room, an attic or basement (or both), a garage, a shed . . . we squirrel things away thinking we may need them some day. Or we hold on for sentimental reasons. But either we forget we have it or by the time we get around to pulling it out of storage, it’s outdated, rusted, or otherwise useless. Or we’ve forgotten why we saved it.

Our spiritual houses need regular cleaning, too. How often we hang onto things better let go: a twinge of envy, a smattering of jealousy, a thoughtless remark, a moment of discontent, an act of selfishness, a surge of anger, a word of gossip, a root of bitterness, an unforgiving attitude, an exaggerated truth, a time of disappointment, discouragement, doubt. In and of themselves, they hardly take up room. But added together, compounded day after day, year after year, they usurp the room we have in our hearts and souls, leaving little space for the good stuff.

Like kindness, compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, gentleness, humility.

How to tackle such a colossal task?

First, decide to do it. Determine, “I don’t want to be this way any longer.”

Then dig in. Confess your shortcomings, weaknesses, and failures to the One who knows all you can be, who created you to be far more than you can imagine, who’s waiting to fulfill His purpose for you.

Accept His forgiveness and cleansing and let go of every ugly thing, every wart, every blemish. And don’t go back to the garbage heap and pull them out again.

Finally, know this will take time. God isn’t going to wave His hand over you and poof! all your imperfections disappear immediately.

Little by little, day by day, let Him change you, purify you, transform you into the person He created you to be, into the image of His Son. Remember, He who began this good work in you will keep right on helping you grow in His grace until His task within you is finally finished (Philippians 1:6 GNT).

Yes, it’s a time of upheaval. But like the road construction sign says, “Temporary inconvenience. Permanent improvement.”

A clean and organized study/writing room gives my muse room to dance!

Dear God, grant me the ruthlessness to pitch what I don’t and won’t need, the insight to discern what to keep, and the long-suffering and energy to sort through it all. Amen.

Read and meditate on Ephesians 4:23–32.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.