OVERWHELMING BURDEN BEARING
Pilots are trained to be able to fly at night in thick cloud over mountainous terrains. If they ignore their training and become overwhelmed they run the risk of losing their bearings and their life. But if they can remain composed and rely on their training, they will trust their cock-pit instruments and be able to navigate their plane through these treacherous conditions. Despite their lack of visibility, their instruments will tell them their altitude, their location, their attitude, their speed, and other vital information. This is great metaphor for managing what would ordinarily be an overwhelming situation in life where God’s Word acts as our flight instruments.
Flying in such conditions often leads to a pilot having to fly counter-intuitively. If you’ve ever watched an episode of Air Flight Investigation, you will seen instances of where a pilot thought their instruments were broken because their senses were deceiving them. When we are prone to being overwhelmed, our senses often tell us to flee. But if we would trust our instruments, as revealed in Scripture, we might avoid making matters worse and thereby lessen our annoying pattern of always being overwhelmed whenever this trigger appears.
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Second Timothy 1:6-7
“Take My yoke upon you!” summoned the Christ. Perhaps in the First Century A.D. this sounded appealing. But in the 21st Century A.D. the last thing many of us want is not another weight on our shoulders! We are each at times weighed down by the complexities of our modern fast-paced, highly demanding, relationship straining, lonely, debt-festering, burdens. We get tired. We feel unwell. We fail to meet our own expectations let alone those of others. These multiple burdens can genuinely feel overwhelming. But there is a secret way to navigate these overwhelming demands and it’s easier to do than you might think.
Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
When I feel overwhelmed and I sleep too little, exercise too minimally, fret too much, I employ the secret. Rather than adding to my intolerable burdens, Christ’s yoke is not in addition to what is weighing upon my mind and draining my strength. No, it is instead of. For when I heed Christ’s summons to be yoked to Him, He takes the weight of my burdens from off my shoulders, puts them on His own, and replaces them with yoke designed to be worn by two beasts of burden. It’s not a fair deal though. God’s grace is never fair. Typical of how the ancient Orientals introduced a novice oxen to the task of jointly pulling a plow, when I am yoked to Christ I am yoked to the One who does the bulk of the heavy lifting. Christ unfairly takes my share of the yoke’s burden upon His own shoulders. It reminds me of the story of the toddler who wanted shoot baskets with his uncle the basketballer. There was no way the visiting nephew could even get the ball the nine feet in the air required to shoot a basket. To avoid the disappointment, his uncle lifted him and the ball up above his shoulders where all the wee one had to do was drop the ball into the hoop. He went up and the ball went down through the hoop. “I did it!” he exclaimed, “I did it – all by myself! I did it!” And his uncle just smiled and celebrated with him. Christ has been like an uncle to me many times and I have been like a self-absorbed wee one to Him too many times. But He still bears my burdens.
O Lord my God, when I, in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hand hath made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy pow’are throughout the universe displayed
And when I think that God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin
When Christ shall come, with shouts of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, “My God, how great You are!”
How Great Thou Art, Stuart K. Hine, 1949
No matter how overwhelmed you may feel at the moment, He will gladly bear your burdens. He invites us to depend upon Him as the Source of all our needs, and to continue to cast all our burdens onto Him.
¶ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
First Peter 5:6-7