Prayer Notes #13 — Casting Burdens
Dear Jesus, I am awake now more than an hour before I need to be. My fears woke me up. Or did you wake me up in order to deal with me about my fears?
I feel as if I am living very randomly, driven by my impulses and whims. And these impulses and whims, though not in every case evil, are, taken together, making a nasty mess of my life.
Now, I feel overwhelmed. The “waves and billows” of the psalms (Psalm 18:4; Psalm 42:7; Psalm 46:3; Psalm 65:7; Psalm 93:3) are surging over my head, and I am drowning. I’m not yet in a panic, but I feel the panic pulsing up in my throat.
Just below this line, printed in the margin of this bound notebook are these words, also from a psalm, “Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you.” Psalm 55:22. Did you wake me up and bring me down here specifically so that I would open this prayer notebook and read that line? How am I to do that casting of my burden? Am I doing now by laying it before you in prayer?
What does it mean that you will sustain me? Does it mean that you will resolve my problems, the things
that make me panicky? Does it mean that you will change me — am I not the root of all — well, almost all — the problems that terrify me?
I cast my burden on you because I am simply and obviously not able to bear it myself. I am so flawed, so fractured in all my own resources. I am rendered so frail and so impotent in all my own abilities. I am not able to sustain myself. I have fallen under my burden, and I cannot get up. I trapped under the burden of my own inability and brokenness. I am myself the burden that has borne me down into the dust of the road.
I am almost on the verge of asking you to fix me, so that I will be able to carry my own burden. But that is to ask you to make me in such a way that I don’t need you anymore. But surely that is the opposite of what “casting my burden on you” means.
The psalmist would have me embrace an intimate dependence on you. You want me to lay my burdens before you particularly and specifically. You want me to rely on you to particularly and specifically work in each of my various burdens and needs — which are also opportunities and possibilities. But they only change from burdens and needs to opportunities and possibilities when I have cast them upon you.
© 2010 Gary A. Chorpenning