“Not your burden to bear”
The phrase continued to return to my mind all day. It had not been a good day. Feverish, tired children, cars and stuff breaking, arguments, tiredness, working through unpleasant, tough decisions all added up to an overwhelmed me. I was frustrated, kind of mad at God, and I took it out on the one I love most here on earth. Then of course I felt guilty for my words, the condition of my heart, my fear, my resentment of the situation that would even have me consider what we thinking about.
I was weeping and crankily complaining to the Father. “I’ve had to do this and that and give up this, and be strong for the family and not upset the balance and–“Not your burden to bear” came the quiet voice in my heart. I kept going, because I was on a tirade…”and this is not the first time blah blah blah”–“Not your burden to bear” returned the answer. All day as I thought and wimpered to Him, as I furiously tried to come up with another way to avoid the situation, and come up with another idea–“Not your burden to bear.”
What do you mean it’s not my burden to bear? I mean, my man is working at a fevered pitch to find a job. We are running out of everything. The car needs a new battery and tires. The toilet seat must be replaced. We are exhausted. The kids are sick. I have to pick up the slack. I have to be the brave and cheerful one, encouraging those around me even when I’m down. Make the grocery budget work, figure out what else I can cut, you know…keep it together.
I tried to think of the exact wording in the Bible and where the verse was located. (I’m so thankful for online Bibles that you can type in the phrase and the verse pops up.) In this case, Psalm 55:22 in 17 different versions–
“Cast your burden (or cares) on the Lord and He will sustain/defend/take care of/support you; He will never let the righteous be moved/be shaken/fall/waver.”
Hmmm…OK. I thought the burden was supposed to be light and the yoke easy. We covered that, right?
Maybe this burden wasn’t ours to bear because it wasn’t ours in the first place. Could it be I picked up the burden meant for another?
I’m not a Hebrew scholar by any means. My “Shabbat Shalom” has a Southern twang to it, but I’ve done enough Bible studies through BSF and Kaye Arthur to know at least how to find out information. I kept looking at the online Bible and the different versions.
Young’s Literal Translation translates this verse this way:
“Cast on Jehovah that which He hath given thee, And He doth sustain thee, He doth not suffer for ever the moving of the righteous.”
That sounds like the burden came from Jehovah. But why would he give us a burden only to ask us to cast or throw it back? I don’t really know. Seems like it would be easier for Him to not give us a burden He doesn’t want us to bear in the first place. But His ways are not our ways and this verse reads like it is a burden given by Jehovah to return to Him.
I’ve been rereading Dangerous Journey as I prepare for the new school year. The picture of the burden Christian carries is fascinating. I think of a burden as something neatly stowed in a backpack, with convenient carrying straps to fit over my shoulder. The weight is evenly distributed to both shoulders, and depending on the backpack, to the strap around the waist. This picture of Chrsitan’s burden is nothing like that. It’s hideous and rough; knobby and tied up tightly in rags and ropes. The burden seems so heavy that Christian can’t even stand up straight. His burden is much more true to life than my tidy image.
I can’t answer why God would give us a burden and then command us to give it back–perhaps to help us to look to Him, and rely on Him daily. To focus our attention on Him instead of ourselves? I think so.
And it says “cast.” That means to throw. One definition said to hurl with force. I’m not going to slide it gingerly off my back and leave it nearby–I’m going to take it off and hurl it away from me–far enough that I’m not tempted to go after it and pick it back up again. I don’t know why that’s such a temptation–to pick up any burden that is so heavy it bows my shoulders, makes me stagger as I walk, makes me cross with those around me and the Lord. Otherwise, if the burden is too close, the Deceiver will whisper words of condemnation, that it’s my responsibility, my duty to fix this situation and bear this burden because I’m a good girl, that I never should have laid it down in the first place and I may believe the Father of Lies and pick it right back up.
So my weapon when I hear the Deceiver mocking me, when I might start believing again that this is my responibility, is the Word:
“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God of our salvation. Selah. God is to us a God of deliverances; and to God the Lord belongs escapes from death.” Psalm 68:19-20
So, I ask the Lord–for myself and for all of us–for the eyes to recognize the burden we were never meant to keep and the strength to
hurl our burdens onto His shoulders. The shoulders that were strong enough to carry the weight of the cross and our sin. I ask for deliverance from the Deceiver and his lies; and that He will sustain us through this day and that we can rejoice in the yoke He lovingly crafts for us. God is a God of deliverances–let Him do His job!