When should I cast my cares on Jesus, and when, instead, do I join him in his agonized praying?
I have often said that I can always tell when I have crossed the line and gone to meddling with God’s part of any situation;
When I feel oppressed.
Yet the Lord doesn’t say that he will not put yokes on me or ask me to carry burdens. He just said that they would not crush me. What is the difference between a burden and a stress?
Nehemiah felt so great a burden for his suffering people that he could not hide it from king Artaxerxes and God blessed him with the chance to rebuild Jerusalem. He was not torn down by his burden but found purpose and a life ministry instead.
1. If I am burdened for the pain of others and not just focused on my own pain, God gives me grace to minister into their pain.
Paul would have been willing to be, himself, estranged from God if it would save his Jewish relatives.
2. If I am burdened for the salvation of others and am not upset at how they won’t listen to me or respond to “my” cause, God will give me grace to pray for and witness to them.
Jesus wept over Jerusalem and the consequences they were pulling on their own heads.
3. If I weep over the damage the sinner is doing to themselves and not about how their sin hurts me, God will give me grace to reach out to them. He prayed “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
There was the Phoenician mother burdened for her daughter, Jairus burdened for his daughter, and the soldier burdened for his servant. I need to ask God to give me a burden for friends and family as a good place to start. Then let the burden turn me into a prayer warrior with a good attitude but one who wrestles with God for a blessing.
4. If I weep over my own sin and not over the consequences it has caused, God will give me grace to quit sinning.
Imagine that you are led out into a field and your neck is tied into one side of a huge yoke. You are told that you will need to help pull a large wagon. You are filled with dread until they bring out the largest workhorse you have ever seen and strap his neck into the other part. You realize that you will just have to walk along and let him do the pulling.
It isn’t that God’s yoke is small or the burden to pull is light but that it is God’s yoke too and he provides the power, not you.
Stress versus Burden
These are both triggered by the same situations, but in stress I am the one who needs to fix it, my worth and security are at stake, and I fuss with God’s part of the task. With a burden, I actively let go of God’s part of the situation and do my part, remembering that my worth and security are secure.
Strength is not found in not caring, or in caring and being destroyed by it, but rather it is found in caring and pouring myself out for others in passionate battle against evil forces yet not being destroyed by the caring.
In every endeavor God’s part is in calling my attention to the task, giving me the heart for it, calling me to obedience, making me worthy, equipping me, preparing the task, bringing the opportunities, providing the tools, bringing the results, giving the eternal rewards.
Moving my body parts in accordance to a growing vision of God’s ways in action relevant to his will and his heart.
- Praying for the situation.
- Allowing God to give me passion,
- Remaining at peace so that God may use me without crushing me.
- Remembering that, in all I do, my greatest goal is to get to know Jesus more and enjoy him forever, by sharing as fellow laborers, soldiers and sufferers, with him now.