“Oh that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Behold, I would wander far away. I would lodge in the wilderness. I would hasten to my place of refuge, far from the storm and the tempest.” (Psalm 55:6-7)
What parent, pastor, or leader hasn’t expressed those sentiments? When the weight of our responsibilities seems relentless and more than we can bear, we yearn to escape to a world free of care. King David, who penned those words 3,000 years ago, certainly felt that way.
But is it possible that God somehow turns our burdens into blessings? Blessings that keep us on the straight and narrow road? Let me explain.
A member of our praise team at the Camp Zama Chapel, Scott Hetzel, once shared an illustration of how a burden can be a blessing. Scott is an avid surfer. He told me that riptides occur when water rushes back to the ocean after large waves crash on the shore. Furthermore, these riptides can keep a surfer from coming back to land, wear him out, and possibly drown him.
Scott explained that, if the surfer finds his strength running out and the riptides pulling him further and further out to sea, there is something he can do to save himself. The surfer must reach down, find a large stone, and lift it to his shoulder. The weight of that stone – if it’s heavy enough – will plant his feet firmly on the sand beneath. As long as he carries that burden, he will stabilize himself against the waves that crash toward the shore and the riptides that pull him back out to sea. Carrying that stone, he can make his way safely back to shore. His burden becomes a blessing.
In a similar way the burdens and responsibilities that God calls us to bear can have a stabilizing effect upon us. At times we long to throw off responsibility and flee. But to do so will not bring lasting relief.More likely, we’ll experience a disturbing sense of detachment and disorientation. True peace and happiness only come when we, with God’s strength, fulfill our obligations and face our responsibilities. And if the burden does seem too much to bear, then we should do what King David commands in the Psalm: “Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you. He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22)
Dear Father in heaven, upon You I cast my cares and my anxieties. Your shoulders are great enough and Your heart is caring enough to bear my heaviest load. Please strengthen me and make me more than equal to the challenges You call me to face. Amen.