Do I have faith enough to move a mountain? I have been under a mountain of stress. I hadn’t even realized until last night and this morning. Thus, I believe, the source of my headaches the past three days. There is not one thing, or one project, or one responsibility that has me overburdened. It’s all things. There are times when even a job you love can seem like too much to handle. When even people you love seem to annoy you with every little thing they do. In my experience it has less to do with the job or the family or any other circumstances. It has to do with my own heart.
This morning I knew it was necessary to come into work early (ordinarily I don’t come in till noon on Wednesday because I work till after nine), but I also knew that I needed to take a page from Martin Luther’s book when he said (JPF paraphrase), “I have so much to do today I need to spend an extra hour in prayer to make sure I get it all done.”
As I worshiped God through music, I came across a song from my first worship ministry position, “Fear Not” based on Isaiah 43:1-3.
But now thus says the LORD,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
(Isaiah 43:1-3a ESV)
Yes this is a particular promise to a particular people at a particular time. Yet the core message is true still. “Fear not, for I AM with you. I AM with you through the floods that threaten to drown you. I AM with you through the fires that threaten to burn you out. I AM with you.”
Oh God, oh God, oh God… THANK YOU! I don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve Your goodness, Your grace, Your mercy. I, who constantly push you away, don’t deserve for You to walk with me. If you were to push me away and cast me aside, I would not blame you. Yet you do not. You will not. You have promised to be with me to the very end of the ages (Matthew 28:20).
Oh, my God, why do I insist on carrying this burden? Why do I insist on shouldering this heavy load? You have said:
Come to me, all who labor 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 ESV)
I need rest, Lord. Not laziness. Not lack of work. I need rest from myself, from my burden’s which I ought not to be carrying anyway.
I cast all my cares upon You.
I lay ALL of my burdens down at Your feet.
I feel as Bunyan’s character “Christian” did when he finally gazed upon the cross and all the burdens which had been weighing him down simply fell from his back and he was able to stand again. I am free. I am free from the expectations others have of me. I am free from the expectations I have of myself. I am free to serve my God, my King, my Master, my Lord.
I AM FREE!