"Why was my burden so heavy?" I slammed the bedroom door and leaned
against it. Is there no rest from this life? I wondered. I stumbled to
my bed and dropped onto it, pressing my pillow around my ears to shut
out the noise of my existence.
"Oh God," I cried, "let me sleep. Let me sleep forever and never wake
up! With a deep sob I tried to will myself into oblivion, then
the blackness that came over me. Light surrounded me as I regained
consciousness. I focused on its source: the figure of a man standing
before a cross.
"My child," the person asked, "why did you want to come to Me
before I am ready to call you?"
"Lord, I'm sorry. It's just that . . . I can't go on. You see how
hard it is for me. Look at this awful burden on my back. I simply
can't carry it anymore."
"But haven't I told you to cast all of your burdens upon Me,
because I care for you? My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
"I knew You would say that. But why's mine have to be so heavy?"
"My child, everyone in the world has a burden. Perhaps you would
like to try a different one?"
"I can do that?"
He pointed to several burdens lying at His feet. "You may try any
of these." All of them seemed to be of equal size. But each was
labeled with a name.
"There's Joan's," I said. Joan was married to a wealthy
businessman. She lived in a sprawling estate and dressed her
three daughters in the prettiest designer clothes. Sometimes she
drove me to church in her Cadillac when my car was broken. "Let
me try that one." How difficult could her burden be? I thought.
The Lord removed my burden and placed Joan's on my shoulders. I
sank to my knees beneath its weight. "Take it off!" I said. "What
makes it so heavy?"
"Look inside." I untied the straps and opened the top.
Inside was a figure of her Mother-in-law, and when I lifted it out,
it began to speak. "Joan, you'll never be good enough for my
son," it began. "He never should have married you. You're a
terrible mother to my grandchildren..."
I quickly placed the figure back in the pack and withdrew
another. It was Donna, Joan's youngest daughter. Her head was
bandaged from the surgery that had failed to resolve her
epilepsy. A third figure was Joan's brother. Addicted to drugs,
he had been convicted of killing a police officer. "I see why
her burden is so heavy, Lord. But she's always smiling and
helping others. I didn't realize..."
"Would you like to try another?" He asked quietly.
I tested several. Paula's felt heavy: She was raising four small
boys without a father. Debra's did too: a childhood of sexual
abuse and a marriage of emotional abuse. When I came to Ruth's
burden, I didn't even try. I knew that inside I would find
arthritis, old age, a demanding full-time job, and a beloved
husband in a nursing home.
"They're all too heavy, Lord" I said. "Give back my own." As I lifted
the familiar load once again, It seemed much lighter than the others.
"Lets look inside" He said. I turned away, holding it close.
"That's not a good idea," I said. "Why?" "There's a lot of junk
"Let Me see." The gentle thunder of His voice compelled me. I opened
my burden. He pulled out a brick.
"Tell me about this one."
"Lord, You know. It's money. I know we don't suffer like people in
some countries or even the homeless here in America. But we have no
insurance, and when the kids get sick, we can't always take them to
the doctor. They've never been to see a dentist. And I'm tired of
dressing them in hand-me-downs."
"My child, I'll supply all of your needs... and your children's.
I've given them healthy bodies. I will teach them that expensive
clothing doesn't make a person valuable in My sight." Then He
lifted out the figure of a small boy. "And this?" He asked.
"Andrew..." I hung my head, ashamed to call my son a burden.
"But, Lord, he's hyperactive. He's not quiet like the other two.
He makes me so tired. He's always getting hurt, and someone is
bound to think I abuse him. I yell at him all the time. Someday I
may really hurt him..."
"My child," He said, "if you trust Me, I will renew your strength,
and if you allow Me to fill you with My Spirit, I'll give you
Then He took some pebbles from my burden.
"Yes, Lord," I said with a sigh. "Those are small. But they're
important. I hate my hair. It's thin, and I can't make it look
nice. I can't afford to go to the beauty shop. I'm overweight and
can't stay on a diet. I hate my clothes. I hate the way I look!"
"My child, people look at your outward appearance, but I look at your
heart. By My Spirit you can gain self-control to lose weight. But your
beauty should not come from outward appearance. Instead, it should
from your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet
which is of great worth in My sight."
My burden now seemed lighter than before. "I guess I can handle it
"There is more," He said. "Hand Me that last brick."
"Oh, You don't have to take that. I can handle it."
"My child, give it to Me." His voice compelled me. He reached
out His hand, and for the first time I saw the ugly wound.
"But, Lord, this brick is so awful, so nasty, so... Lord! What
happened to Your hands? They're so scarred!" No longer focused
on my burden, I looked for the first time into His face. In His
brow were ragged scars -- as though someone had pressed thorns
into His flesh. "Lord," I whispered. "What happened to You?" His
loving eyes reached into my soul.
"My child, hand Me the brick. It belongs to Me. I bought it."
"With My blood."
"But why, Lord?"
"Because I have loved you with and everlasting love. Give it
to Me." I placed the filthy brick into His wounded palm. It
contained all the dirt and evil of my life: my pride, my
selfishness, the depression that constantly tormented me.
He turned to the cross and hurled my brick into the pool of
blood at it's base. It hardly made a ripple.
"Now, My child, you need to go back. I will be with you always.
When you are troubled, call to Me and I will help you and show
you things you cannot imagine now."
"Yes, Lord, I will call on You." I reached to pick up my burden.
"You may leave that here if you wish. You see all these burdens?
They're the ones others have left at My feet. Joan's, Paula's,
Debra's, Ruth's... When you leave your burden here, I carry it
with you. Remember, My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
As I placed my burden with Him, the light began to fade. Yet I
heard Him whisper, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you."
A wonderful peace flooded my soul.
Addendum -- John 16:33 (NIV) "I have told you these things,
so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have
trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
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