Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Are We Meant to Carry These Burdens?

This burden weighs down on my heart, head, shoulders. And so many times I've wondered, am I supposed to be carrying this at all?

"Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7). They tell me over and over, but if I believe is it just an excuse to embrace ease?

"All your cares..." All my μεριμνα (merimna), all my anxieties and worry and mistrust. I have cast it down, but the burden remains.

"My yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:30), He has told me, and it is, compared to the burden of μεριμνα.

Burden - φορτιον (phortion) - a burden unable to be shared. It is the Lord's burden alone, and yet He has made the impossible possible, and those who have shared in His Body will now be borne up by Him as we share in His burdens.

If our heart is now His heart, how can we not shudder under the impossible weight of sin and pain and suffering? As dead we were before numb to the plight of our world, but now alive together with Christ how can we not feel every unwanted, unintended sting of death?

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2). The burdens of the hurting can be shared, and we must shoulder them as the hands and feet of the One who bore every burden for us in His body on the tree.

But the burdens are heavy, and the darkness of tears and sighs and intensely feeling so much pain seems to crowd out the light. But can the Light of the World be overshadowed?

I think of Nehemiah - champion of justice, advocate of restoration, lover of light.

The opposition was strong, but the wall had to be completed.

"In Judah it was said, 'The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall'" (Nehemiah 4:10).

And they were right, the burden bearers, the wall builders, needed reinforcements, needed someone to bear them up as they bore their burdens. And the clans of Judah came and stood with swords in hand beneath the wall for days and nights for fifty-two days. "Our God will fight for us," they said (Nehemiah 4:20). And He did.

When the wall was finished and the burden bearers had put down their yoke to survey what had been accomplished with much blood, sweat, and tears, the nations heard of it and "were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of [their] God" (Nehemiah 6:16).

And still Nehemiah bears burdens, to stop the oppression of the poor within those strong walls and to bring about justice in every corner, until his dying day.

And so, when people advise me to cast my cares upon the One who cares for me, I will, and I have, but at the same time, we stand on the battle ground of a bloody, dying world, and to the One who freed me I am now bound. I walk behind Him, to bear His mighty Sword which shall overcome all evil, and this Sword has become the cross I take up to follow Him.

Rejoice! We know who will win, for the greatest battle has already been won! Take up your cross in His service and do not be surprised that you find yourself in the midst of the fiercest war ever waged. The burden is heavy, but look to Him who bears you up - the victory is ours in Christ!

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