Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Thursday, May 25th. Are you anxious, stressed or burned out? The remedy for believers in Jesus is to rest in His promises. Here's part one of When Our Burdens Seem Unbearable. When your heart feels heavy and your body seems to be so weary and somehow your emotions feel so drained and you're very discouraged. In fact, you just feel sort of burdened down.
Where do you turn? Well, all of us have those times in our life and we feel burdened down. We all have those times in life and we feel like things a little bit hopeless or helpless or we feel discouraged or disillusioned maybe. Where do you turn when you have those feelings? Do you turn to someone? Do you turn to something?
Do you look for some way to escape? Where do you turn when you have those feelings? Well, that's what I want to talk about in this message and I want to talk about this whole idea of when our burdens seem unbearable. When our burdens seem unbearable because all of us either will or have or do meet those times in life when we come to that stage where we think, Lord, we can't handle too much more or, Lord, we can't handle anymore.
Where do you turn then? Well, I want you to look, if you will, in Matthew chapter eleven and there are three verses of Scripture here that I want us to look at because the Bible is very clear about what you and I should do when we have these burdens in our life. And so, Jesus speaking to the people of His day, here's what He said to them in verse twenty-eight of chapter eleven. Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, 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 shall find rest for your souls.
For My yoke is easy and My load is light. Well, I want to begin by distinguishing between the two kind of burdens the Bible talks about. And one of those burdens that you will find in the Scripture, you'll find that word in two different translations. One of them is burden and the other is oracle.
Both of them mean the same thing. And that is a burden is a heavy weight, a weightiness, a pressure, something you feel on the inside. And you'll find in the Scriptures, for example, that oftentimes the Bible will say of some prophet, and the burden of the Lord, and what it's referring to is God's word that is a burden from the Lord to some prophet, was a form of divine communication conveying God's purpose or God's will or His plan for some person or some nation. And oftentimes you'll find that as the prophet is conveying the word of the Lord or the burden of the Lord, usually, not always, it is a form of judgment.
For example, go back just a couple of books in the Bible, Matthew, back Malachi and then Zachariah, the 12th chapter. And you'll notice how he begins this particular chapter. He says in verse one, the burden of the word of the Lord concerning Israel, thus declares the Lord who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him and so on. So he says the burden of the word of the Lord. It was a sense of heaviness, something compelling the prophet, something moving him, something motivating him, an unshakable, inescapable kind of sense of responsibility. He must speak, he must declare, he must preach the word of the living God to that nation or to people. And so one form of the burden of the Lord is simply that. And that is it is a communication of God's will and his purpose and his plan for a nation or for a people.
As we said, usually it was in some form of judgment. And you'll read, for example, the book of Amos over and over and over again, the word of the Lord, the burden of the Lord. And so when we think about that, we think in terms of how God spoke through the prophets in the Old Testament. And they were simply saying, this is the word of the Lord. And it comes to me as this heaviness, this compulsion, this unshakable, inescapable message from God that I must speak to you. Now, the burden of the Lord did not stop in the Old Testament or the New Testament.
We don't usually think of it in those terms, but also God operates in the same way today. For example, let's think about your life for a moment. Let's say that you feel a very heavy burden, this weightedness, this compulsion, this drivenness on the inside to pray for someone. And maybe you wake up in the middle of the night and somehow they're there on your heart. You just got to pray for them. You wake up in the morning and you find there on your mind you've got to pray for them. During the day, you feel compelled to pray for that person.
What is that? That is God burdening you, giving you a sense of weight, a sense of heaviness, a compulsion within you to do something He wants you to do. And so God can work in our lives the same way He did in the Old Testament. And so, for example, sometimes I'll talk to someone who is considering going into the political field and they'll say, you know, I just can't handle this. I feel so burdened. I feel so weighty.
I feel so heavy about this. I feel like I must get involved. Or maybe it's involvement in something else, some burden, some heartache, some problem that's going on. And so that person now feels like they need to join this organization. They feel burdened to make their contribution. They feel weighty. They can't escape it.
They have to do it. So I'm simply saying that God still does the same thing. You may not think of it in terms of a burden, but that is exactly what it is. It is this weighty feeling of something you must do because it's from God.
And so God is still in the process today of doing the same thing. He burdens our hearts. He lays upon us His Word to somebody or some people or whatever it might be. So that means that all of us should learn to be sensitive to God. That when you feel this weight, this heaviness, this compulsion, God may be trying to say something very specific to you. He wants to use you in someone's life or some people's lives.
For example, once in a while the Lord will begin to speak to somebody's heart and He wants to call them into the ministry. And so, first of all, it may come as just an idea. And then the idea grows into a little more serious thought. And then He begins to think about how it would work.
And then He says, well, that wouldn't work for me. He begins to give God all these excuses why it can't until finally it begins to grow. And it gets heavier and heavier and heavier until finally He knows that He can't do anything else but preach the gospel.
And He finally surrenders to God. God is still in the business of burdening His people's hearts to do His will. And so I make all that emphasis and say to you, be sensitive.
When you begin to feel something like that, don't chalk that off as some, just some idea you have. God may be choosing you to use you for a specific person, for a specific reason, a specific need in their life. That's one form of the burden. That's God's kind of burden, which He says and identifies as an oracle or as a burden in the Old Testament. Now, there's a second kind of burden which all of us are familiar with. And that is those everyday burdens, that's what I call them, those daily burdens we have to face in life. All of us have them. And if somebody says, well, I have no burdens, then either you're not living in reality or you own something. Because everybody, everybody has probably at least one or more things they have to deal with in life. Now, you'd think that someplace and somehow in life you'd be able to get to some stage where you could finally say, whew, wouldn't you like to be there? Whew, it's all over.
I don't believe you ever get there. I believe that somewhere, because we live in a fallen world, there are always going to be burdens, always going to be heartaches, always going to be something that we have to deal with in our life or in our circumstances or situations. So let's think about it for a moment because there are all different kinds and there are those financial burdens people have to live with. Sometimes here's a mother who has two or three children she's trying to raise and she has a job, doesn't make a lot of money.
You know what? Every single day is a burden to her. She feels the burden to be able to stay healthy long enough, to be able to work and to make enough money just to make ends meet. Or oftentimes people get themselves in financial situations where their finances are a real burden. There's a weightiness, they have to deal with it.
Somebody can come and close them up the next day. Then there are people, for example, who just live in bad circumstances. Maybe live in a circumstance where they are continually being abused, either physically, verbally or sexually. They're just being abused.
They don't know how to get out. They're afraid to tell anybody, fearful of what someone will think if they said, well, I've been sexually abused. Or fearful of sharing someone because of the repercussions, the consequences they may have to face.
They live with that burden. Or people who live with the past in their life, things that they've done or things that have happened to them that they don't want to share, not willing to share, afraid to share, to embarrass the share. Maybe past sins in their life, they wonder, has God forgiven me or has He not? Living with guilt in their past and they don't know how to deal with it. They've asked God to forgive them but somehow they still feel burdened.
How could God ever forgive me for this or for that? So they live with that guilt. Sometimes it's someone who has a physical problem and they've maybe had to live with it all their life. They've felt that all of their life.
Or maybe it's something they develop and the doctor says, you've got six months, three months or two months or whatever it might be. And they live with the burden of knowing that death may be close by. How do you live with that? And then there's the awesome problem of someone that you've loved dearly and they're gone. They've passed on. And somehow though they have been gone maybe what, it's six months or six years, they can't let go. There are people who are still living, holding on to someone who's been gone for years. And even when they know that they're in heaven, they're gone, they can't let go.
They can't get detached and they live, they live hung up in that. There are a thousand kinds of burdens that people live with every single day. Many things that people have to deal with and sometimes they're small, sometimes they seem to be insignificant to others, but they're very significant to the person who is feeling and suffering the pain of that every day. What do we do with these things? How do we handle these things?
All of us have some form of a burden, some form of weightiness we have to deal with. How do we deal with them? How do you deal with yours? What do you turn to? Who do you turn to? And when you oftentimes feel, God, I can't handle much more of this. God, I can't handle any more of this.
What do you turn to? Well, I want to tell you, my friends, you don't have to give up. You don't have to quit. You don't have to get on drugs. You don't have to get on alcohol.
You don't have to get on some sexual affair. Listen, God has a very clear biblical, workable, practical, sufficient, adequate, listen, answer to that need, to that burden, no matter what it is. And that's what I want us to talk about in this passage, which He gives us so clearly. So to Matthew chapter 11, look, if you will, beginning in verse 28. He says, come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, that is tired, burdened down, and I will give you rest. When He says, come to me, I want you to notice there are four things in this passage. First of all, here's an invitation. He says, I want you to come to me. Now when He says, come to me, all you who are laboring, heavy laden, borne down, what does He mean by come to Him? What do I do?
Well, there's something very simple I do, but it's very practical and it's workable. First of all, I tell Him what my burden is. Lord, here's how I'm hurting. Does He need information?
No. He desires that you and I humble ourself before Him and tell Him, God, here's where I'm hurting. Here's what I'm feeling. Here's how I, here's the reason I feel so borne down, so weighted down, so heavy, God. Here's the reason I feel so discouraged.
Here's the reason I feel so stuck. God, I need You. When you and I come to Him expressing our burden, sharing with Him our burden, we are humbling ourselves before Him. God always honors a humble spirit. So first of all, tell Him about it. The second thing I do is give it to Him. You say, now wait a minute, how am I going to give it to Him?
Now listen carefully. When I come to Him and tell Him about it, I say to Him, Father, Lord Jesus, however you want to address Him, I'm turning this over to you. You said you'd bear my burdens.
I'm laying this down. By laying it down, I'm acknowledging, God, I can't handle this. I know you can handle this, and so first of all, I'm telling Him about it, and secondly, I'm entrusting it to Him.
I'm trusting Him who called me to Himself and made me a promise that He not only can, but He will, desires, is committed to handling my burden. So I come to Him. I tell Him about it. I lay it before Him. I trust Him to deal with it. Now somebody says, well, I've done that.
We all have. We go to Him. We say, Lord, here's the burden upon my heart.
I'm giving this to You in Jesus' name, thank You very much. Walk up, put it back on. What do we do?
Walk right away. We still have the same burden. So we go back tonight or the next day or this afternoon. We lay it down again. Lord, forgive me, Father. I know I blew it, Lord. I'm laying this down before You again, just, and what do we do?
We last for two hours this time. Next thing we do, we've got the same old burden. So somebody says, well, you know what? I've laid it down a thousand times and I still have it.
Right. I want to give you a little clue of why you still have it. Now listen carefully because sometimes the most important things are the simplest. Not only must I tell Him about my burden, not only must I trust it to Him, but my focus must move from my burden to the burden-bearer. If I just keep my focus on the burden, well, God, here's the problem, and Lord, you know about this? If I keep telling Him this, then my focus is on that.
You know what? I haven't given it to Him. Now watch this. The way to find out where you are is to analyze your own prayer. In other words, when you get through praying about this burden and giving it to Him, ask yourself the question, how much of my time did I spend on telling Him and describing this to Him and telling Him about my hurt and having myself a pity party, and how much of my time did I concentrate on Him? God, I know that You're the sovereign of this universe.
I know that You love me unconditionally. You have the power to deal with this. I want to thank You and praise You, Lord, that You are a burden-bearer. In other words, when I begin to focus on Him, you know what?
I can leave it with Him. As long as I'm focusing on the burden, I'm going to pick it up and walk away with it, and I'm going to keep carrying it. That's the reason some people carry the same burden for year after year after year after year.
They've never learned to lay it down. You lay it down as a decision on your part. You lay it down as an act of faith on your part, and you lay it down, listen, changing your focus from the burden to the burden-bearer. Now, for example, let's look at several Scriptures. Look, if you will, in First Peter chapter one for a moment. First Peter chapter one, I want you to notice what Peter says here in two different chapters. But first of all, I want us to look in chapter five and verse seven. For new Christians, that's Revelation, Jude, third, second, First John, Second Peter, First Peter.
All right? So you know it's back toward the back of the Bible. Very important verse.
I'm going to give you a moment to find that, all right? First Peter chapter five, look in verse six. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you at the proper time. Listen, casting all your anxiety, your burdens, your cares upon Him because He cares for you. Now look at that.
You have to put that sentence together. Humble yourself. Come to Him, acknowledging what's there. He says this mighty hand of God, He will exalt you, lift you up in due time, casting all your anxiety upon Him because He cares for you. We have the invitation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Who cares about our burdens? Who is sensitive to our burdens?
Who knows all about Him? He says, cast them upon me. Lay them down, trusting me. Don't pick them back up. Trust me, I can handle them.
Trust me, I want to handle them. Get your focus off the burden and get it on me, the sovereign God of this universe. Well, look if you will, a couple of the passages. Look if you will in Psalm fifty-five. There are two passages here, but first of all, Psalm fifty-five.
Notice what He says. Again, cast your burden upon the Lord and He will do what? He will sustain you. He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. When we come to Him, here's what He says.
Now watch this because I'm coming to something very important here. He says, lay it before Him, trust it with Him. He says, because He'll sustain you. That is, He will uphold you, He will enable you, He will strengthen you, He will guard you, He will guide you, He will do whatever is necessary to enable you, listen, to walk through this burden.
Because God will make a difference in your heart. He does not say that He will always remove, always remove the burden. He says, cast it upon Him, He will sustain us. Look, if you will, in the sixty-eighth chapter, sixty-eighth chapter of the Psalms, look at this.
Another wonderful promise. In the nineteenth verse, He says, blessed be the Lord who daily bears our burden. Now, He daily bears our burden.
He will sustain us in it. Now go back, if you will, to First Peter for a moment, because I want you to see something here. First Peter, this time, let's look, if you will, in the second chapter, and I want you to notice something about him. Because Jesus is indeed the burden-bearer. Listen to what He says in First Peter chapter two, verse twenty-four. And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross. In all of that, we may die to sin, not have to live in it, live to righteousness, for by His wounds you and I were healed.
Now think about this. If Jesus Christ was willing to bear all of our sins, He certainly is willing to bear all of our burdens. He is the sin-bearer. He is the burden-bearer.
He's the one who wants us. He desires, come to me all you that labor and are heavily laden, and I will give you rest. So He invites us to bring our burdens to Him, no matter what they are. And He invites every single person to come to Him and lay the burden down.
You know why? Because He is adequate, ready, willing, and desires to deal with that burden, no matter what it is. Thank you for listening to When Our Burdens Seem Unbearable. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or InTouch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
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