by Ken Rolheiser
Lifting the weight of our burdens

The true story is told of a man trapped under an industrial-sized hay bail. He called for help. As efforts were made to get help, he tried to plead with the by standers to cut the strings on the bail. This would allow the hay to expand into smaller-sized pieces of hay that weigh practically nothing.

Unable to speak, the victim in this story endured much pain and was on the point of expiring from the crushing weight that made breathing very difficult. All the while that rescue teams were en route, the victim tried to say, “Cut the strings.”

Eventually the bail was removed when adequate manpower shifted the bail enough to rescue the victim. But a life-lesson was learned. When you are overburdened by life’s problems that crush the very life out of you, cut the string. Individually, problems can be addressed in much smaller pieces.

Another lesson in living asks the question: how heavy is a glass of water? The size of the glass doesn’t matter. How long you hold it does. If you hold it for one minute, nothing happens. If you hold it for an hour, your arm begins to ache. If you hold it all day, your arm starts feeling numb and paralyzed. Remember to put down the glass! 

In a daily reflection for April 23, 2021, In Touch Ministries speaks on Psalm 55:16-22. “Have you ever suddenly awakened in the middle of the night with a heavy burden on your heart? Sometimes this kind of weight is from the Lord and will be lifted when He has accomplished His purpose—for example, an impulse to pray or a strong motivation to do God’s will. Other burdens are caused by sin and weigh us down until we confess them.

“But regular, daily burdens are not for us to carry. We tend to think of worries as our lot in life—like responsibilities we’re to handle without ‘bothering’ God. But really, our lot is to walk obediently with God and trust Him to do the heavy lifting in our life. Scripture says we are to cast every burden on Him (1 Peter 5:7). We must identify the concern, surrender it into His care, and have faith He will sustain us as He has promised. 

“Relinquishing our grasp on burdens does not mean we stop thinking about them. We still prayerfully bring them to God, listen for His guidance, and bless His name for bearing worries on our behalf (Psalm 68:19). But our concerns won’t destroy us if they’re set on God’s shoulders. Are you carrying a heavy load? God wants to hold it—and you—in His hand.”   

Our burdens may seem really heavy at times, but put into God’s hand they will weigh like a handful of hay and smell as sweetly. A heavy personal burden I struggled with recently weighed me down. I thought, “Why does this have to beat us down? Why can’t we let the Lord adjust it and set us free?”

“Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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” (Matthew 11:28–30). Jesus will remove your heavy burden of guilt and hopelessness and give you true rest in Him.
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