Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail). – (Psalm 55:22 AMPC).
This morning as we woke up to news of the passing of yet another relative, I was reminded of how much the pain of death is overwhelming and how there’s absolutely no getting used to it. My family has certainly been dealt some seriously heavy blows when it comes to death but as I grow older, I continue to understand that no amount of experience can ever make it easier to accept or deal with the passing of a loved one! And so as today progressed, those inevitable painful negative feelings started taking over and I knew that if I wanted to keep my sanity, I needed to take the time to process and release them.
The most important thing I’ve learned about feelings, is that they are always triggered by our thoughts, and so by changing how we think, we can change how we feel. I’ve learned that talking myself out of my negative feelings changes my thoughts and I’m always amazed at how well it works for me in minor situations. But it’s the major situations such as this, that become too overwhelming for my human self-talk. It’s situations like this that remind me how much we desperately need God and I’m so grateful that He offers us a place where we can take and unload our negative feelings. My self-talk in this kind of situation only brings me peace once I’ve prayed and asked God for help. It feels like I awaken an even deeper part of God’s spirit in me and the peace I feel goes beyond anything I can ever create in my own strength. Just like Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
As I was dealing with my painful feelings today, I remembered a conversation I heard between 2 of my co-workers last week. They were talking about God and one of them said that she doesn’t believe in God and thinks it’s all “hocus-pocus”! As much as I believe that everybody is entitled to their beliefs, I’ve always wondered, where do people that don’t believe in God go when they face overwhelming situations such as this, and how do they deal with their negative feelings? How can they fail to see that there’s definitely a higher power that’s working beyond our capability, especially when we experience the plenteous of situations that go beyond our human control. I just cannot imagine how painful life must be to believe that you can do it on your own, especially as I’ve suffered severe depression when I tried to overcome my feelings of grief on my own. And to think that this is just one example! Why would anyone choose to carry a load that they cannot do anything about when the One who clearly can offers us a place where we can unload and keep moving forward with a lighter load?
Matthew 11:28, God offers us, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]. And He goes on to explain to us, “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne. Not to mention 1 Peter 5:7, where we advised to, “Cast the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.”
As I grow older, I realize that life doesn’t get any easier. The burdens are hard and some of them even excruciating! But my life has most certainly become a lot easier to take because my burdens have to become lighter to carry as I make a daily choice to surrender them to God. It’s helped me continue to accept and enjoy life knowing that even the hard knocks are bearable because God is readily available to lighten our load as long as we choose to turn to Him for help. As I go to bed today, the pain of losing a loved one does not go away, but being able to live with it is something that I know that I can cope with because God’s got my pain!