Psalms 55:22 – Cast Thy Burden Upon the Lord

October 20, 2008
By

I had an interesting insight during a prayer a few months ago. In all my years as a member of the Church – in all the countless meetings I have attended and all the countless times I have read the scriptures – and in all my pondering over the years, I have not had the same thought in quite the same way. I’m sure it’s not earth shatteringly profound, but it was powerful and thought-provoking for me. I also am sure it is a direct result of the contemplation I have been doing concerning the Lord’s yoke, His grace and our gratitude for His matchless mercy.

What struck me is that all of us, when we become members of the Church, covenant to take certain responsibilities associated with church activity. We promise to comfort those who stand in need of comfort and mourn with those that mourn. We agree to the sacramental covenants, then Priesthood or YW’s covenants, then temple covenants – as well as the responsibilities of various callings within the Church’s organizational structure. Although these things are meant to bring us growth and understanding and joy, in a very real sense they are “burdens” we agree to carry. Added to our natural cares, these new burdens can become overwhelming and exhausting.

Psalms 55:22 says, in part: “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee.”

Note that this is singular (“burden”) – not plural (“burdens”).

Ether 12:27 says: “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

Note that this is singular (“weakness”) – not plural (“weaknesses”).

Matthew 11:28-30 includes the following: “Take my yoke upon you.”

Here is what I learned:

The concepts in these three verses constitute a complete solution; without the first and second, the third is impossible – and even destructive.

In simple terms, the Lord wants us to cast our “burden” at His feet and pick up the “yoke” that He knows will give us strength and bring eternal life. In a very real way, he asks us to exchange loads. Please take a moment to create that mental picture. Envision yourself removing a pack from your back or shoulders, setting it aside, then picking up a new pack to carry instead. If we fail to leave our own natural burden with Him, then all we do when we assume the responsibilities of membership in His kingdom is to pick up a second pack and increase a load we already are unable to bear alone.

That, in my mind, is the central power of the Atonement – of His grace and mercy. He will shoulder our burden, if we shoulder His. Each of us needs to figure out what this means in our own lives, with our own personalities and struggles, but, at a minimum, we need to accept His atoning grace and quit beating ourselves up over our natural weakness – that for which He has paid the price already. (See the 2nd Article of Faith.) We need to recognize and accept the forgiveness He has offered already. We need to believe Him and what He has promised us.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by guilt or inadequacy or the burdens of your life, may I suggest a simple solution – not an easy one and not one that always will happen completely and all at once, but the only one of which I know that truly will work. Find a quiet place, where you can kneel totally alone and unable to hear anything else, and pour out your soul to your Heavenly Father – able to approach Him directly because of the grace of His Son. Tell Him of your anxieties, your fears, your weakness, your pain – then ask Him to take the burden from you and help you walk away from it. Repeat that request (something like, “I gave it to you; please help me leave it at your feet.”) whenever you begin to feel overwhelmed – even if it means you have to do so sometimes in the middle of the confusion and chaos of your daily life. Take a deep breath, close your eyes if you can, and ask Him to intercede once more and keep you from picking up your natural load.

I have a deep and abiding testimony that if you cast your burdens upon the Lord, He truly will sustain you as you shoulder His yoke and begin to carry the burden He has chosen to make your weakness become strength. Although I believe in the symbolism, purity and real release that can accompany baptism, a fundamental and basic burden exchange can happen within or without any particular church structure. Anyone can cast her burden upon the Lord, take His yoke upon her and find rest to her soul.

16 Responses to Psalms 55:22 – Cast Thy Burden Upon the Lord

  1. Velska
    October 20, 2008 at 1:54 am

    As I figure it, this is the only way to put aside the natural man.

    Sublime. Thank you.

  2. October 20, 2008 at 5:46 am

    If we fail to leave our own natural burden with Him, then all we do when we assume the responsibilities of membership in His kingdom is to pick up a second pack and increase a load we already are unable to bear alone.

    That fits in well with the things I’ve been thinking about recently, thank you.

  3. WMP
    October 20, 2008 at 8:09 am

    Wonderful imagery and insight. Thanks, Ray.

  4. October 20, 2008 at 9:56 am

    If we fail to leave our own natural burden with Him, then all we do when we assume the responsibilities of membership in His kingdom is to pick up a second pack and increase a load we already are unable to bear alone.

    I love that thought, Ray.

    I agree with you that each person’s burden will be different. But what do you consider his burden — the one that Christ wants us to pick up?

  5. October 20, 2008 at 10:23 am

    I don’t know, but I think that burden is to love and serve His children. The gospel seems to point to that. As a rather selfish person, I’ve been trying so hard to learn it, and not seeming to make much headway.

  6. John Nilsson
    October 20, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Ray,

    This is very good advice. Thank you for being a light in the darkness.

  7. Ray
    October 20, 2008 at 11:16 am

    I agree with you that each person’s burden will be different. But what do you consider his burden — the one that Christ wants us to pick up?

    BiV, I almost added John 15:13 and commentary about it, but I thought it would have made the post too long – and I am going to parse it in another post. For now I simply will suggest looking it up and thinking about what it says in relation to this post. I think there is a powerful message when we stop interpreting that verse in the traditional manner (invoking death) and start viewing it in the context of these other verses (focusing on our mortal actions).

  8. Rigel Hawthorne
    October 20, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    I was sitting in Sunday School yesterday (yes, I actually made it almost all the way through) listening to the discussion on the sermon on the mount scripture describing ‘what father having a child asking him for bread will give him a stone.’ I thought to myself how many people I know have received what could be considered “stones” in their life when I’m sure they were hoping/praying for “bread.” I know of multiple people who I’m sure prayed for health and strength and acquired cancer or other diseases, metaphorically stones instead of bread. The verse following states that God knows better than earthly fathers the gifts that will be best. If you look at the atonement as Ray describes, then you always have bread, rather than a stone.

  9. October 20, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Take a deep breath, close your eyes if you can, and ask Him to intercede once more and keep you from picking up your natural load.

    I like that.

  10. Ray
    October 20, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    #8 – “If you look at the atonement as Ray describes, then you always have bread, rather than a stone.”

    How did you get that conclusion from what I wrote? It isn’t there; period. I never said we will get whatever we want or everything for which we ask, and I never said all of our trials and suffering will disappear. I never even hinted at that conclusion.

    If you want to provide the quote that led you to believe that, I would appreciate it – because it’s nowhere in what I thought I wrote, and it certainly is not something I believe.

  11. October 21, 2008 at 6:19 am

    Thank you Ray. This was exactly what I needed today.

  12. Rigel Hawthorne
    October 21, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    “I never said all of our trials and suffering will disappear”

    Nor was that my conclusion. I did not intend for my reply to suggest that. Poor wording in what I was trying to convey, evidently. What I meant was that if you look at the Atonement as the great gift that it is, you will always recognize it to be the greatest blessing our Father could give us. Even if life hands someone many “stones”, one will always have the great gift of the atonement which can sustain us in bearing a load that we cannot bear alone. “Bread” from a loving Father to sustain us. I shouldn’t have said “always have bread rather than a stone”, but something more like “always have bread to help us bear the stones.”

    For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
    Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
    Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
    If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

    This is the verse I was pondering.

  13. Ray
    October 21, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Rigel, I think we agree at the most basic level – but that we describe it in differing ways. That’s cool.

  14. Robert
    October 24, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Ray, last night I had a nice conversation with my 13 year old son, who was very stressed out about school work, fitting in with his fellow deacons, etc. I remembered and shared with him your words about casting our burdens on the Lord. It was a great learning/teaching moment for both of us. Thanks for your insights.

  15. San
    December 8, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    It’s usually nice to read others comments; it’s almost like being in class where we share our thoughts after a lesson has been taught. We can feel comforted that others share our thoughts (burdens). Many of us want to “cast our cares on Him”, but often reel them back in and still try to handle burdens/issues ourselves. We still have to learn what is for Him and what is for us because we do have our part to do but yet have to know how to let go & let God.

  16. Ray
    December 8, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    Great point, San. W

    Robert, somehow I missed your comment when you wrote it. Thank you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *