No, it’s not an Olympic sport – nor is it a contest anyone wants to sign up for and yet we all find ourselves entered as participants simply by virtue of the fact that we are human. We were automatically enrolled without our consent. This is a contest no one wants to win. Although there are those who will let it be known they are carrying more weight than others. They are known as martyrs.
But for most of us, burden bearing is just something that we do, not because we choose to, but because it is an inescapable part of daily life. There is a quote I love that states, “Be kind, everyone is fighting a hard battle you know nothing about.” A similar quote by Ian MacLaren, says, “Be kind, everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden.” Why don’t I realize this? Maybe because the battles we are fighting and the burdens we are bearing are invisible to others. We take care to hide them from others, so our sorrows, pain, any hardship, loss, or need is kept concealed as we attempt to deal with our difficulties on our own.
As events unfold (we call that “life happening”) we often find our burdens getting heavier by the day, with no relief in sight. I’m guessing this is where the expression “he/she looks like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders” comes from. But we don’t have to bear our burdens alone. God has a better plan in mind. In Galatians 6:2 we read,
“Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Another translation says “carry each other’s burdens” – you get the idea. We are not weightlifters, we are burden bearers – burden bearers help others by walking alongside and shouldering some of the weight as they journey on together. This lightens the load and helps the one with the heavier burden to keep going. But how can I possibly do this for others when my own burdens are often too heavy for me to bear alone?
This is possible because I have One who offers to bear my burdens for me. In 1 Peter 5:7 I am told I can,
“Cast all my cares on Him because He cares for me.” Psalm 55:22 tells me the same thing saying,
“Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.”
As my Heavenly Father bears my burdens, lifting them gently from my shoulders into His capable hands, this lightens my load and frees me up to bear the burdens of others who are carrying heavy loads, “and so fulfill the law of Christ.” The job of a burden bearer is not easy, but it is essential. Life prepares us for this essential role well. I get plenty of practice bearing my own burdens, which makes me stronger and better able to offer assistance to others. And how wonderful to be able to share with my over burdened fellow travelers the good news that they too can cast their cares on their Creator who cares for them so completely that He will gladly take on their burdens. I take great comfort in these words when the weight of my burdens threatens to overwhelm me, and I find myself alone –
“Praise be to the Lord, to God my Savior, who daily bears my burdens.” (Psalm 68:19)
I will not collapse under the weight of the world because God is my burden bearer, just as He calls me to be a burden bearer for those around me who are struggling under heavy loads. And many there are who, though they never signed up to be weightlifters, are nonetheless currently carrying crushingly heavy loads while longing for relief. The texts I’ve received today bear witness to this fact even as they provide me the opportunity to be a burden bearer, a unique privilege which I don’t take lightly.
So as a burden bearer, I will pray. This is one way of “bearing one another’s burdens.” I will pray many things, I will pray –
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)
and I will pray this –
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:9) and this –
“And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:10-11)
praying burden bearing prayers – sincerely, Grace Day