by Aubrey Coleman
Living on the third floor of an apartment complex never works in my favor on grocery shopping days. Surveying my trunk filled with bags, I would estimate how many trips I would have to make and how I could make less. Bags hung up my arms, and I would have a pinky finger loose — totally enough room for that last bag, right? I would slowly and steadily work my way up the steps, and sometimes I would even make it to the top without dropping anything. I can’t count on one hand the number of smashed jars and cracked eggs that a three-floor grocery trot would cost me.
How often do you feel as if you’ve overloaded yourself? To-do lists pile up. Your children come to you with endless demands and needs. Dinner isn’t ready, and the house is a mess. Maybe your marriage is struggling, and you feel alone. You’re overcommitted and overworked. You find yourself in a spiritual drought, hoping to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe you’re burdened by grief or watching a friend suffer. Hopes and dreams are deferred. Finances close in, and fear of the future creeps in with it. Whatever it is, we can find our load filled to the brim. We can live like our capacity is as wide and deep as the ocean and fill and fill.
I’m sure you’ve seen the well-intentioned quote that reads, “God will not give you more than you can handle.” I fear that this mentality speaks deeply into our already misconceived notions of our capabilities and lies about God’s intentions for us. If God didn’t give us more than we could handle, how would we see our ultimate need for Him? If we could handle things on our own, why would we need the cross? It is precisely at those moments that we feel the weight of our burdens, with humbling realizations of, “I can’t deal with this on my own,” that we release our grip and open our hands to God’s help and care.
Holding tightly to our burdens is the opposite of what God’s Word asks of us. Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your burdens on the Lord, and He will support you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” Casting burdens is actively giving them to the Lord to carry. He preps us for the promise with an imperative. He is secure, and he will keep us safe and steady, but we must cast our burdens on Him. Maybe you don’t even know what burdens to cast? The weight of life is so heavy you can’t identify its source.
Do not waste a moment searching, but go to the Lord. Ask for help. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.” This is a command we can’t resist. We will be crushed under the weight of our yoke if we do. But when we willingly submit, the yoke becomes easy, and the burden becomes light.
When we think we can carry it all, we leave no room for the ultimate Carrier. Our resistance leaves us restless! Our gaze is fixed inward and not upward. We’re tired and weary and doubtful and fearful because we’re looking at ourselves! But when we look to the cross, we not only see the One who can carry it all but the One who did. The greatest burden to bear, Jesus Christ bore. He carried our sin to the cross on our behalf and suffered the wrath of God that we deserved. He held the weight of our greatest transgressions, our heaviest load, so we wouldn’t have to. We must fight the temptation of picking back up what we’ve already laid at His feet—the doubt, the worry, the fear, the exhaustion, and the expectations. The cross reminds us of our incapabilities and His capabilities. Lay it all down. God did not create us to carry it all, but we can trust in Jesus, who can.
“Surely He took on our infirmities and carried our sorrows; yet we considered Him stricken by God, struck down and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5