Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cast Thy Burden Upon the Lord

I had an interesting insight during a prayer a few months ago. In all my years as a member of the Church - in all the countless meetings I have attended and all the countless times I have read the scriptures - in all my pondering over the years, I have not had the same thought in quite the same way. I'm sure it's not earth shatteringly profound, but it was powerful and thought-provoking for me. I also am sure it is a direct result of the contemplation I have been doing concerning the Lord's yoke, His grace and our gratitude for His matchless mercy.

What struck me is that all of us, when we become members of the Church, covenant to take certain responsibilities. We promise to comfort those who stand in need of comfort and mourn with those that mourn. We agree to the sacramental covenants, then Priesthood or YW's covenants, then temple covenants - as well as various callings within the Church's organizational structure. Although these things are meant to bring us growth and understanding and joy, in a very real sense they are "burdens" we agree to carry.

Psalms 55:22 says, in part: "Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee."

Ether 12:27 says: "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

Matthew 11:28-30 says, in part: "Take my yoke upon you."

Here is what I learned: The concepts in these three verses constitute a complete solution; without the first and second, the third is impossible.

In simple terms, the Lord wants us to cast our own burdens at His feet and pick up those that He knows will give us strength and bring eternal life. Please take a moment to create that mental picture. Envision yourself removing a pack from your back or shoulders, setting it aside, then picking up a new pack to carry instead. If we fail to leave our own natural burdens with Him, then all we do when we assume the responsibilities of membership in His kingdom is to pick up a second pack and increase a load we already are unable to bear alone.

Each of us needs to figure out what this means in our own lives, with our own personalities and struggles, but, at a minimum, we need to accept His atoning grace and quit beating ourselves up over our natural weaknesses and tendencies - those things for which He has paid the price already. We need to recognize and accept the forgiveness He has offered already. We need to believe Him and what He has promised us.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by guilt or inadequacy or the burdens of your life, may I suggest a simple solution - not an easy one and not one that always will happen completely and all at once, but the only one of which I know that truly will work. Find a quiet place, where you can kneel totally alone and unable to hear anything else, and pour out your soul to your Heavenly Father - able to approach Him directly because of the grace of His Son. Tell Him of your anxieties, your fears, your weakness, your pain - then ask Him to take the burden from you and help you walk away from it. Repeat that request (something like, "I gave it to you; please help me leave it at your feet.") whenever you begin to feel overwhelmed - even if it means you have to do so sometimes in the middle of the confusion and chaos of your daily life. Take a deep breath, close your eyes if you can, and ask Him to intercede once more and keep you from picking up your natural load.

I have a deep and abiding testimony that if you cast your burdens upon the Lord, He truly will sustain you as you shoulder His yoke and begin to carry the burden He has chosen to make your weakness become strength.


SilverRain said...

YES! This is absolutely beautiful and exactly what I have found, as I've been overwhelmed with my natural sense of perfection. Thank you for this incredible post.

I have found that it is easy to say, but not easy to do. For example, if you struggle with women and the priesthood, cast that burden down at the Lord's feet and focus on the new burden of Church service. It does not come naturally, and is accompanied by quite a lot of misunderstanding and ridicule. People assume that because you do not seem burdened by something, you do not have concerns about it. But choosing to carry the burdens the Lord has set is only possible, as you say, if you set down the ones you are already carrying.

Common burdens may include, providing for one's family, keeping a clean house, common "issues" with the Church, personal disputes with ward members or others, stress from driving, a sense of guilt . . . the list stretches on forever. None of them are easy to unburden, but the Lord has promised that if we do so, He will take our burdens and make them strong unto us. What a glorious principle!

Mama D said...

I understand this principle in large part because of your abiding testimony in it. Thank you for assisting me as I learn to cast my burdens at His feet.

Anonymous said...

I hope you guys will forgive me for lurking over such intimate and heartfelt conversations.My soul is deeply burdened by the suffering of my family due to protracted ilness which severely curtails our activities.I know we are not alone and consider myself in the company of my ancestors who would have alle xperienced this at some point in their lives with the elderly and the young,but it is hard to bear.I cast my burdens on the Lord with varying success but know without the effort to do so we would have not been sufficiently edified to get this far intact as a family as it goes way beyond the capacities of the natural man.illness muddles my thoughts and I am also unable to attend church,so I am deeply grateful to you who are able to atriculate for me some of the things of my soul.I hope you'll excuse me if I lurk some more

Papa D said...

anonymous, Please lurk to your heart's content. I can't tell you how gratified I felt when I read your comment - and how touched I was by it.

"In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see." That is one of my favorite lines from all of our hymns ("Lord, I Would Follow Thee"), and it truly is in the quiet, private heartaches that the Atonement cleanses and heals and strengthens the most powerfully.

Thank you for de-lurking and sharing your experience with us. That's what the "good news" of the Gospel is about at its core.

I pray that you will continue to receive the strength you need to cast your burden upon Him and be edified and uplifted and sanctified as a result.

May God bless you always - each and every day.

Anonymous said...


I love you.


You do so much good work on the internets.


Jami said...

Ray, your emboldened phrase may change my life.

Papa D said...

Thomas and Jami,

I have a hard time expressing what your comments mean to me.

Thomas, of all the "regular" commenters in the Bloggernacle, I anticipate your comments perhaps more than anyone else's. You have an insightful way of saying exactly what needs to be said every time you comment, and it inspires me. To have you say that literally brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

Jami, This is a repost of something I wrote months ago - before anyone was reading this blog - when it was nothing more than an on-line journal. I had something else planned for this date, but I felt impressed to change those plans, push back the other post and repost this one instead. If your response alone was the reason for that impression, I am grateful for it. I hope what you wrote is actualized in your life - no matter who long it takes to happen fully.

Mama D said...

There are many in the bloggernacle who have made a difference with Ray. Thomas and Jami, you both consistently make a tremendous impact. You really have no idea how much your comments, here and elsewhere, mean to Ray. He respects you both so much. It means a lot to have that respect returned in this way. Thank you.