Recently I was at the end of a busy work day, one of those days where the to-do list seems to get longer the more hours you put in. I was tired and beginning to grow weary. (You know the difference. When you’re just tired you look forward to rest but still feel satisfied with your work. When you’re weary, joy oozes out, discouragement creeps in, and you begin to think, “I’m not sure I can keep this up.” Can you relate?) I knew this wasn’t a good change in my soul, so I started to pray before going home for the day – though I must confess at first my prayers were mostly just reciting my troubles to myself.
But God is merciful even to faltering prayers, and He began to work on my heart. Here’s what I realized: I feel weary because I try to carry burdens that aren’t mine to carry. There are things that I legitimately have responsibility for, which I must work and labor it. But God never intends for me to carry the ultimate responsibility for those things. A father might, in order to bless his son and involve him in the father’s work, ask the son to hold a wrench or even tighten a bolt while the father works on the car – but that doesn’t mean the son is supposed to take over responsibility for fixing the family vehicle!
So often our weariness comes from trying to take ultimate responsibility for something God only intends for us to take limited, temporary responsibility for. You’re called to be a faithful parent to those little twitching bundles of energy that can’t sit still through an entire meal, but you’re not called to be their savior and to ensure that they make it through college, get a good job, find a spouse, and serve the Lord all the days of their lives. That’s fixing the car when God only asked you to hold the wrench. You’re called to work diligently today and make wise decision with your money today, but you’re not called to plan for every financial disaster that you might one day face as a result of a collapsing economy, a depression, or invasion by aliens from Mars. You’re not God. Just hold the wrench.
So are you, as I so often do, carrying burdens that aren’t yours to bear? Here’s what God would have you do: go to your Father in repentance for the pride that lies behind such efforts, and then transfer your burdens deliberately and specifically to Him. “Father, I’ve tried as best as possible today to discipline my child and be a faithful parent. But I transfer the burden of his soul and his future into your mighty hand.” Repent and transfer. That’s all God asks!
1 Peter 5:6-7: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”