(By Angela Watson)
Sometimes the weight of the burdens on our hearts and minds can be overwhelming. Recently I came across the following verse in my daily reading and it was such an encouragement to me. I pray it will give you strength today.
“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation” (Psalm 68:19 ESV).
What caught my attention was that little phrase in the middle “daily bears us up.” Through it all, the Lord is there, every day, lifting us up.
To bear someone else’s burden is to sympathize, identify with and become involved in the person’s life so they do not have to face it alone. Verse 20 goes on to say, “Our God is a God of salvation, and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.”
1 Peter 2:24 reminds us of the great sacrifice Jesus made to become our salvation: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” We have been delivered from eternal death because He bore our sins on the cross — not only did He provide a way back to him, He became the way back.
Our God is a God of salvation!
He didn’t just come to earth and take on human flesh and go straight to the cross to die for our sins. He chose to live here for over 30 years and subject Himself to the sufferings that we face as we live in this world so broken by sin. Hebrews 4:15 tells us that we have a high priest (the one who could make the sacrifice for our sin) who is able to sympathize with our weakness, and who in every way has been tempted and yet remained without sin.
Verses 7 to 8 of the next chapter expand on the suffering He endured here on earth before even going to the cross: “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.”
Jesus' loud cries and tears and sufferings demonstrate how much He was willing to endure to be our redeemer. He experienced life on this earth that is ravished by sin and He truly understands what we are going through; therefore, we can have confidence to draw near to the throne of grace. He is able to bear us up.
It reminds me of the words from the hymn “Burdens are Lifted at Calvary” by Rev. John M. Moore.
Days are filled with sorrow and care
Hearts are lonely and drear
Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near
Troubled soul, the Saviour can see
Every heartache and tear
Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near
In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus invites us to bring our burdens to Him: “Come unto me all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Verse 29 paints such a beautiful picture of the truth from Psalm 68:19. “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.”
A yoke is a harness that ensures that two oxen are going together, side by side, in the same direction. They have to stay in step with each other. Is it too much to imagine that in my yoke it’s me and Jesus, and in your yoke it’s you and Jesus, side by side, going through life, and He’s bearing us up, so that we don’t have to face “it” alone? The note in my study Bible says that it’s a shared yoke, with the weight falling on bigger shoulders than ours. And when we bring our burdens to Jesus and let Him bear us up, we will find rest for our souls.
God is so good and it would have been enough that He removed the burden of our sin and walks with us daily so we don’t have to go through life alone, but in addition to that He also provided us with a community to help and support us as we go through life.
We are instructed in Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
God wants us to sympathize, identify with and become involved in each other’s lives so that we don’t have to face the trials of life alone. What a blessing it is that we can come together and do just that: share in each other’s burdens and lift them before the throne of grace. And by doing this, we are fulfilling the law of Christ, to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is the second commandment.
We are called to walk in His footsteps. His life on earth was marked by example after example of bearing the burdens of others, encouraging and lifting others up — healing the woman with the blood condition when she had spent all that she had and instead of getting better was worse; providing hope and worth to the woman at the well; mourning with Mary and Martha over the death of their brother, Lazarus; even providing a place for His own mother as He hung on the cross — there are so many examples.
John 13:34-35 says “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
I hope these verses will be an encouragement to you not just today, but every day. We have been saved and the Holy Spirit lives within us. We are not walking through life alone but daily He is bearing us up. He wants us to bring our burdens to Him and let Him carry them. And He has called us to come together and to bear one another’s burdens, fulfilling the law of Christ and showing the world that we belong to Him.