Apr 19, 2013
I just finished a phone call with a close friend.
He faces problems. Big problems. He’s fearful. Worried. Hurting. He can’t see any good options — any good outcomes — and He doesn’t know what to do.
And when I finished the phone call I felt burdened.
What Are Burdens?
We know what burdens feel like. They make our hearts feel heavy — like something is weighing them down.
So what causes this? I think it’s usually because we see something painful in our future. And that fear of future pain is a weight — a burden — on our hearts.
Think about your own heart. Are you feeling burdened? If so, identify what pain you are fearing.
Maybe it’s the pain of a broken marriage. Or a lost job. Or wayward children. Or poor health.
The reason you are burdened is because you are fearing that pain.
But what can we do when we feel burdened?
Look at what David tells us to do with our burdens in Psa 55:22 —
Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Whenever we are burdened, God promises to sustain us and not let us be moved (which means to be shaken or totter).
But there is something we must do to receive this promise. We must cast our burden on the Lord.
What Does That Mean?
We often talk about casting our burdens on the Lord. But what does that really mean?
After my phone call, when I felt burdened, I quoted this verse. I told the Lord I wanted to cast my burden on him. I asked him to take it. I said I didn’t want it. I asked him to lift it from me.
But there was no change. My heart was still burdened. I did not feel the Lord sustaining me.
So what does it mean to cast a burden on the Lord?
I went out to the creek trail and prayed about it. And I ended up taking four steps that powerfully helped me —
First, turn to God through Jesus
Don’t just say “it will be fine,” or “it will all work out,” or “God will take care of it.”
None of those involve you actually meeting with the Living God.
So turn your heart to God Himself. Come to God, cleansed by Christ’s blood and clothed with His righteousness.
Turn to God and know that through Christ — he loves you, welcomes you, and promises to help you (Heb 4:16).
Second, ask God to keep this painful event from happening
Ask God to save your marriage, keep you employed, save your children, give you good health.
To strengthen your faith, think about times when God delivered His people — Israel from Egypt, Joseph from his dungeon, Bartimaeus from his blindness.
Strengthen your faith, and then pray that God would deliver you from this painful event (Psa 50:15).
God may choose to deliver you, which would be a great mercy. But the Bible also teaches that He may not, which is why at this point you probably still feel burdened. So this next step is so crucial —
Third, trust that if He allows this painful event to happen, it’s to bring you more joy in Him.
Your greatest joy is knowing God, beholding God, loving God (Psa 16:11). And God promises to orchestrate everything — including every pain, sorrow, and trial — to bring you even more joy in Him (Rom 8:18; 2Cor 4:17).
So take time to set your heart on God. Use His Word to help you see His love, majesty, glory, and grace. Use passages like Gen 1:1; Isa 6:1-7; Mark 15:39; Rom 5:1-10.
Pray over God’s Word until the Holy Spirit helps you see and feel the all-surpassing worth of God the Father and Jesus the Son.
Now — look at your future. You see that this painful event might happen. But now you also see that if it does, it will mean not just pain, but gain — the gain of more joy in God now and forever.
This is when the burden will start to lift — when we see and feel the worth of God, and that all future pain will bring us even more of God.
But there’s one more step to completely remove the burden —
Fourth, trust that if He allows this painful event to happen, He will take care of every need it creates.
He will. He promises. He will provide —
- all the wisdom you need to make tough decisions (James 1:5)
- all the finances you need to fulfill His call on your life (Mat 6:33)
- all the comfort you need for your heartaches (2Cor 1:3-4)
- all the grace you need to keep faithful to Him (2Cor 9:8)
- all the strength you need to persevere (Phil 4:13)
- all the joy in Him you need to make this all worth it (Rom 8:18)
Pray over these promises until the Holy Spirit strengthens your faith. Pray until you trust that God will take care of your every need.
Cast your burden on the Lord
When you trust — really trust —
- that He might deliver you from this painful event,
- or that if He does not, He will bring you even more joy in Him through it,
- and that He will take care of every need it creates
— your burden will be gone. Because you’ve cast your burden on the Lord.
That does not mean it will never come back. But when it does, it’s because you’ve stopped trusting His promises.
So go back through the steps, and fight the fight of faith until you are once again trusting His promises.
Why keep your burdens?
Understand that whenever you are burdened, God wants to take the burden from you.
So don’t keep your burdens.
Cast your burdens on the Lord.
I’d love to hear them. Leave a reply below — thanks.
If you know someone this would help, email it to them using the “share” button below. Or use the other buttons to share it on your favorite social media.
If you would like to interact with others who are seeking to live by faith in Christ, visit our Forums page.
If you would like to receive a Saturday email summarizing the week’s posts — subscribe here. (I will only use your email address for Living By Faith Blog communications, and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.)
And here are some related posts you might find helpful –
- How Jesus Frees Us From Fear (4-min video)
- Bible Passages On Fear
- 4:00 AM Worries
- What Is The Peace Of Christ?
(Picture is from Microsoft Publisher Clipart.)