When The Burden Is Too Much

John 11:3, “So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, ‘Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.’

Life can weigh you down at times. Worry. Concern. Disappointments. Setbacks. Uncertainty. Sickness. Disease. Pain. Problems. Relationships. On and on and on it goes. The list seems endless some days. And with each new issue the load just becomes increasingly heavier. Depression begins to set in and a cloud of despair envelopes you like a fog that no amount of sunlight could ever dissipate. Talk of “moving forward” just seems ridiculous. It’s all you can do to get out of bed and get dressed. Joy, peace, and love seem like some long forgotten dream. Laughter has long ago disappeared. Life has become something you endure.

So, what do you do during those dark and difficult days? Give up? Give in? Let me encourage each of us to glean a lesson from Martha and Mary. When the burden has become too much to bear the best thing that you and I can do is to pray. I know. That sounds so cliché. But it doesn’t make it any less true. Martha and Mary had come to a critical place. Their brother was sick. So sick that within days he would actually be dead. And so they did the best thing they could have possibly done. They sent word to Jesus.

Over the years I have watched as prayer has become less and less of a priority in most Christian circles. We used to gather together for prayer meetings. We actually took prayer requests and then prayed for people. Now, it’s fellowship groups. A lot of food. A lot of fun. Not too much spiritual emphasis. We used to stop what we were doing when someone had a need and pray for them at that very moment. Now, it’s a pat on the back and “I’ll be praying for you.” Churches used to hold prayer meetings as part of their regularly scheduled events. Now, they have all but disappeared from the calendar. Ministries used to ask for your prayer needs. Now, they just solicit your donation. For many people prayer has become a last resort. Something that you do only when everything else has failed.

Prayer was meant to be so much more. Ultimately, it is the pinnacle of fellowship in the life of the believer. Prayer is the place where we meet God. It is intimacy in its truest and purest sense. Prayer is also the place where we are able to unload all of those needless burdens. It’s the place where we can get rid of all the unnecessary weight of worry, fear, and frustration. 1 Peter tells us to, “cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” Philippians declares, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Still not convinced? Here’s one more from Matthew. “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

Over the years my family has moved numerous times. The most recent move was 3 years ago when we returned home to Georgia. At the time we were living in a 4 bedroom house. That’s a lot of stuff. I quickly realized that there was no way I could carry that load by myself. In fact, I wasn’t going to even try. So, I rented a truck, loaded it up, and drove it to Georgia. The truck was able to carry the weight that I in my own weakness could never move. Prayer works the same way. Life weighs us down with so much heartache and headache that we eventually become overwhelmed. Life comes grinding to a halt. Prayer carries those weights to the One who alone can carry the load, our Lord Jesus Christ.

In closing, I am reminded of an old hymn. “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” The song was originally written by the Irish poet Joseph M. Scriven. Mr. Scriven was a man who certainly understood pain. On the night before he was to be married his fiancée drowned. Filled with grief, he moved to Canada. Tragically, the shadow of death would again fall across his path. In Canada he once again fell in love and was engaged to be married. But the young woman suddenly fell ill with pneumonia and died shortly after. In his pain he reached out to the God and penned the words that have brought comfort to countless multitudes in the years since. Take his words to heart today. Take Martha and Mary’s example to heart as well. Does the weight of life have you wearied and worn-out? Has the burden become too much? Stop trying to carry it in your own strength. Send word to Jesus. Take it to the Lord in prayer.