“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be move” (Psalm 55:22).
After I went to basic training in the Army, I was driven across the post and dropped off at Officer Candidate School, the hardest commissioning source of the Army. The school was 16 weeks of pure torment. The last exercise we did, called a capstone, was to road march out to the training area 18 miles away.
While there, we got little sleep and did maneuvers for a week. We were in full gear with weapons and this was in August of a hot Georgia summer. I began to get dehydrated on the road march to the training area and was never able to get rehydrated the entire time we were there because we were always on the go.
The day the exercise ended, we were supposed to leave in the morning at first light, but it was too hot and humid and so they made us sit in the sun until midnight before we left. So here we are, walking another 18 miles back to the main post to our school. I was dehydrated, drinking water like a horse to try to stay coherent enough to walk at a pretty fast pace.
This was hard for me because I’m short and so I would fall behind and then would have to run to keep the pacing distance accurate every few minutes. Now mind you, with all the gear on we were each lugging about 50 extra pounds. Not too bad for the bigger guys but I’m 5’6” and was at 165lbs so it was harder for me. To make things worse, at one point they made me carry a tripod for the M-60 and the M-60, adding another 30 or so pounds to my load.
We were at the last two miles and I was getting delirious because of dehydration. Even though we were walking at night, it was still 100% humidity and was in the 90s. I was almost collapsing and could barely walk. Now if I couldn’t finish the road march, I would have to do the 16 week course all over again, so I was determined to finish.
During those last two miles, my fellow officers began to take the load off of me. They took my rucksack off my back, my LBE (holds things like ammo, water and other gear) and took my weapon from me. That helped and they were feeding me their water to help me keep going. (Didn’t work so well.)
The last mile or so, I was stumbling from exhaustion from being dehydrated. Two of my fellow officers wrapped their arms around me and helped me walk the rest of the mile back into our school grounds, the finish line.
This event reminds me of Christ. In my road march near the end when I couldn’t bear anymore, my burden (equipment) was taken off me and I was helped to the end. Christ does this for us as well.
When you are at your last step and can’t carry anything anymore—if you let Him—Christ will lift those burdens off of you and carry you through your time of trouble. This is an amazing aspect of Christ’s love for us; that He cares for each one of us so much that He will take the weight of the world off our shoulders, lift us up, put His arm around our shoulders and help us through.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11: 28-30).
Personally, I think we forget to give our burdens to Christ and find rest in Him. When I was basically being carried that last mile, it was such a relief to just move my legs a bit and not worry about the weight on my feet.
I remember after the march was over, I collapsed onto the ground. Water was poured over me, my clothes were stripped off due to being overheated and dehydrated. I was so relieved and savored the rest my body was getting by letting others take care of me.
This is what Christ does for us. We give Him our burdens and He gives us rest in Him. I can still feel the relief of that moment when the march was over. Giving Him burdens has been lacking in Christ, and I think we all do the same thing: we forget to give to God.
We all have burdens in our lives that we try to take care of ourselves, both physically and spiritually. Physically, we all have faced some ailment or suffer from chronic illnesses. My burdens are my many chronic illnesses. I have failed many times to lay those burdens on Christ to help me through the flares of my conditions that leave me in agony and pain.
I try my best to deal with them on my own and leave Christ out of the picture. Only when I can’t take it anymore, when I’m on the edge of desperation, do I seek Christ for help. What I should do is seek His help when I feel the burdens of my conditions starting.
For me it is a stubbornness thing with my physical ailments, whether the anklosing spondilitis is acting up, my fibromyalgia or Chron’s causing pain, or when my bipolar swings start getting out of control– I fight with myself to try to gain control.
And you know what? It never works. Never, ever. I suffer and suffer and only when I come to my senses and ask Christ for relief do I feel better, even if it just enough for me to get through the rest of the day.
He knows me better than I know myself and I can imagine Him looking at me, just waiting for me to invite Him to help me. This is a work in me that I continue to battle with and by writing this, it will remind me to lean on Him more.
Spiritually, we all have burdens. Mostly the burden of sin, of course. But our souls need to be fed and developed. Worry, stress, anxiety, fear, self-worth and such are all burdens we face or have faced at one time or another. For me, I’m better at leaning on Christ for these burdens to be lifted than I am with my physical problems.
When I feel like I’m falling behind on my Bible studies and prayer life because of spiritual distractions, I pray to Him to help me and I get reenergized. This is a weekly thing for me, but I know He is faithful and gives me the motivation and desire to delve into His Word and prayer when I ask for that rejuvenation.
Then there is the battle of our spirit against sin: our biggest burden. We face and live in a world so full of sin that it isn’t even called sin anymore; it is called everyday life. As saved folks, we see the sin of the world and all the sin surrounding us. Oh, there are lots of temptations around every corner we turn. Media and the entertainment industry is probably the biggest propagandist for sinful living.
Look at commercials. Look at the new season’s shows on TV. Watch a movie. Listen to the radio. It’s all smut. It bombards us most of the day. It makes sin seem so natural and normal. I’m only 39 and so I can’t say look at the mid-20th century to see the values, for values started slipping when I was growing up in the 80s and 90s. Yet, even I can look back and see the change in societal norms and how they have gone downhill.
Flaunting homosexuality and lustful scenes on television was not around when I was young or a teenager. Kid’s shows were fun to watch and didn’t shove alternative lifestyles down our throats like they do now. Sex was still a taboo to talk about, but now it is advertised as normal to have multiple partners and is okay to stray from your spouse.
Whatever happened to clean television shows? Now they push the edge further and further. A majority of television shows are focused on violence, sex, or evil. I’ve especially noticed the darkness of some shows now for which I’ve seen advertisements. No, thanks. Don’t need that.
The burden of sin is great. Don’t be fooled by society. They want to shun Christians, to isolate us, and society would rather we did not exist so they can run amuck with filth. They want Christians to fall because then they can point their fingers at us and mock our faith.
Society wants Christians to sin to prove that we are just as bad as they are. We must fight this. We must endure and put the burdens of these battles with our spiritual lives onto Christ so we can find rest and hope in Him.
If you don’t seek Christ for rest for the burdens of your spirit, you open yourself up to sin and sin can become a slippery slope you may not be able to climb up from. We know the truth of God and we know this from the Holy Spirit, as our guide, of what wrong and right are. Hebrews 10: 26-27 says:
“For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remained no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”
When you don’t let Christ carry you, you are more susceptible to falling into sin. When you get on that path, it is easy to distance yourself from Christ, and Christ’s sacrifice for your sins is in jeopardy. This is why we need to ensure we give our burdens to Christ so He can carry us and protect us from the world and the wiles of Satan.
How do we battle sin?
We seek rest in Christ. We give our burdens to Him and He will give you rest. Remember what 1 Corinthians 10:13 says:
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
What does this mean? We can avoid sin.
When faced with sin, give it to Christ and He will make an escape for you — so you can avoid and bear it. Remember, that Satan can’t make you sin. This is no excuse for you to sin. When you sin, you know it is wrong but you do it anyway. Unfortunately, once you start giving into sin, you seem to do it more.
The more you do it, the more distance comes between you and Christ. The next thing you know, you are in so much sin, you aren’t even on the road to salvation anymore, but on a dusty side road, so dusty you can’t even see your hand in front of your face from so much sin.
If this is you or you are headed this way or know someone who is, this can be rectified. Forgiveness is freely given. Give the burdens of your sins to Christ that you have kept from Him and He will freely forgive you and will give you rest. He will help you get back onto the path of salvation.
On the road march of life when you are falling in the last mile and ready to collapse, plead to Christ to take your burden away, to carry you—and He will. Not only will He do this, but He will give your soul much needed rest in Him and through Him.
He’s there waiting for you, just answer the door.