The narrow, rocky path through the canopy of brush looked very inviting to my weary mind. Like the heavy backpack I carried hiking up the rough path, I had been feeling the problems, decisions, and tasks of daily life weighing on my mind and heart. It’s always refreshing to spend a few days camping or on a fossil dig where I can have some peaceful time to more fully enjoy creation and my Creator, away from the demands of modern life. No cell phone service, no emails or social media, no traffic, etc. It’s still and peaceful. A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed going on a camping trip with my Dad and uncle in Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.
This was not the kind of camping trip with huge RVs, grills, and plumbing. It was low-intensity backpacking. We carried everything we needed for the weekend (food, tents, bedding, etc.) in backpacks and set up our base camp about three miles into the wilderness. After weighing my backpack, I figured it was somewhere between one-third and one-half of my weight. It really wasn’t bad, but I did feel a little unstable a few times going up and down along the rocky path. On the first day after we hiked in to our camp site, I settled my backpack down off my shoulders and onto a large boulder. The moment I felt my pack go, a scene flashed through my mind of the character “Christian” in Pilgrim’s Progress, when his burden of sin fell off because he came to the point of salvation in Christ.
I know that, like “Christian”, I don’t bear the weight of guilt and judgment for my sin anymore. Do you still bear the weight of guilt and judgment for your own sin? Don’t delay – let Jesus take that burden away today. Or perhaps, like me, you have made the decision to let Jesus bear sin, but still sometimes feel like you carry a heavy load. I’m sure there are more I’ve missed, but here are three reasons I’ve found for why I sometimes feel heavy laden. First, because I was trying to bear things by myself when I shouldn’t – choose humility to pray and be to ask others for help when needed. A second reason is because my tongue forgot how to say that powerful two-letter English word – “No”. I can’t do everything and I certainly cannot solve all the problems of everyone around me, no matter how hard I try. Resting is not bad or a punishment for sin; rather our Creator gave the example to us by resting after He had finished His work of creation. He has always intended for us to take time off to spend it with Him.
“Come to Me, all you 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
A third reason I might feel the weight of life bearing heavily on my shoulders is because I need to clear and re-focus my vision. Glasses get smeared and contacts get dry – especially if you camp or dig up fossils. Ultimately, our focus should be on the Person of Jesus, our Creator. Our vision is to follow in His steps until we reach our home in Heaven with Him. As I set down my pack on that first day, a phrase from an old hymn I learned in choir a number of years ago came to mind: “we’ll lay our burdens down”. May you be refreshed and re-focus, turning your eyes back to our Creator this week and we shall discuss the geology of Wichita Mountain next week. May this hymn, “When We See Christ” help point your vision in the right direction:
Article copyright Sara J. Bruegel, April 2016
1 Oft’ times the day seems long, our trials hard to bear,
We’re tempted to complain, to murmur and despair;
But Christ will soon appear to catch His Bride away,
All tears forever over in God’s eternal day.
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.
2 Sometimes the sky looks dark with not a ray of light,
We’re tossed and driven on, no human help in sight;
But there is one in heav’n who knows our deepest care,
Let Jesus solve your problem, just go to Him in pray’r. [Chorus]
3 Life’s day will soon be o’er, all storms forever past,
We’ll cross the great divide to glory, safe at last;
We’ll share the joys of heav’n – a harp, a home, a crown,
The tempter will be banished, we’ll lay our burden down. [Chorus]
By Esther Kerr Rusthoi