By Hal Green
The burdens you bear indicate how much you care. Bearing burdens is tough enough, but bearing them all alone can become literally unbearable. The truth is, a burden which cannot be shared, cannot be lifted. The Good News, make that the “God News,” is that Jesus Christ has expressly invited you to share your burdens with him. Here is Christ’s remarkable invitation:
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
In these most difficult times, you may be reaching the limits of what you can bear on your own. Perhaps you already have, and find yourself stuck, seemingly unable to move forward with your life.
If so, turn to Christ and come to him, if only in spirit, will and desire. Humbled by circumstances, ask Christ to lift your burdens and be willing to let them go, to give them to God, to let Christ bear them with and even for you. It has been said that true religious faith begins when you finally experience your absolute dependence on God.
Jesus Christ is there for us. He will take our burdens upon his shoulders, so we can go free, freely to the God who loves us and sent Jesus to free us from those burdens we have been carrying on our own. Jesus said, “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free…. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:32, 36).
The “yoke” Christ asks you to put on, rather than becoming a burden, will instead lift and support you through the rigors of your daily life. The yoke of Christ is in fact the love of God, which will also direct your steps as well as uphold you. Thus does Jesus say his yoke is “easy” and his burden is “light.”
What are your burdens? List them to Christ and place them before him. Then calmly and gently, humble yourself before the Humble One. Brushing aside pride, ask Christ either to lift your burdens off you — if you are willing to let Christ take them — or to bear them with, and if need be, for you. Finally, trusting the Lord with all your heart and embracing the freedom of Christ’s yoke of love, you will at last find rest for your soul.
(Hal Green, Ph.D., has taught and written about prayer extensively. A former religion professor and Methodist pastor, he joined the Catholic Church in 2011, and is a member of Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish in Muscatine. A podcast version is available at drhalgreen.com)