In the past couple weeks, several friends have shared personal troubles with me that are off the stress charts. Each person has a different life altering problem of family, health, or finance. I felt myself reeling, as if I, too, were bearing the burdens my friends shared. Galatians 6: 2 tells us to, “Carry each others burden…” An apparent contradiction comes just 3 verses later in Galatians 6:5, “each should carry his own load.” What if carrying my own load includes carrying my friends’ loads? The cumulative weight is staggering. I can identify with Moses when he said, “I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.” (Numbers 11:14 NIV). What are we to do with the burden we feel for other people’s problems?
Worrying cannot be the answer. In fact, we are commanded not to worry. Matthew 6:34 says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” The context is worrying about ourselves but applies, I think, to worry about other people’s troubles, too. How are we to not worry and bear one another’s burdens, while at the same time allowing each person carry their own burden?
The Bible contains clear instructions: “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” (Nahum 1:7) “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you.” (Psalm 55:22) “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior who daily bears our burdens.” (Psalm 68:19) “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
As my friends trusted me by sharing their sorrows, we need to trust God by sharing everything with him. We are not to keep our burdens or anyone else’s. We are to carry them straight to the Lord. When the burdens seem like a bottomless well of trouble, pour them out to God in prayer. We can carry our friends’ burdens, as well as our own, if we carry them to God. We don’t need to carry them any farther.
Have a blessed day unburdening yourself to our Lord.