To the Battle Weary: Part 2 - Lay Down the Load
Battle-weary one, are you wondering how to go on? Are you remembering old messages that teach, “You Say I Am Strong when I think I am weak", and are you wondering at the truth of that confidence?
Do you look at your ordinary life and wonder why it feels so hard right now? Why each disruption seems disproportionately difficult, why each weight seems like the world on your shoulders?
You see, this battle has not been a one-day wonder, but more like the 100-Year War. There has been grief upon grief and disruption upon disruption and trauma upon trauma for so many. The support structures around us are buckling under it, too, and even The Strong are sagging in the shoulders. What do we do when we realise we’re not coping with the load we’re carrying, and when each added straw is breaking our back?
When we’re walking in the valleys under darkening shadows, there is a Lily of the Valley to be found. Smelling the flowers isn’t just for those walking on sunshine… On the contrary, beauty is God’s antidote for trauma. When you can’t take another step, don’t take another step until you’ve stopped to let it all fall at the feet of the One who is able to carry it all.
As I did just that, not too long ago, as I stopped and let it fall, the small tears I permitted made way for the gushing grief and only as I allowed myself to be washed empty by the torrent, did I begin to understand the weight I had been carrying. Grief upon grief becomes compounded within us and we don’t always realise that it’s yesterday’s grief and tomorrow’s worries that are making today’s burdens unbearable. We’re carrying weights we were never designed to carry. It takes laying everything down before we can lean forward on bended knees and breathe deeply of the Lily that heals us.
"My yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” promises the Lily of the Valley that is Jesus. As we look at it all, spread out at his feet, we realise we don’t have to pick it all up again. Some things are ours to keep and carry and others are better left where they are. There are worries that are outside of my control; pains that are unfit for human hearts; burdens of sin, not just mine but other’s, too, that are death to my soul if kept hidden inside of it.
As I lay silent in the presence of the Man of Sorrows, spent from my own display of sorrow, I thought to myself, now what?
Now what? The world has not been altered by my release of grief. The losses are still lost, the hurting are still hurt, the injustice of this age goes on. And who will carry it if I don’t? But because my thoughts are transformed by the presence of God in the room into silent prayers they instantly fall in rightful obeisance before the One who is acquainted with more grief than I have ever known. He not only knows of the pain of grief but he is the only one who knows how to finish it - how to consume grief, be killed by it, conquer it in the grave, leave it there and be raised victoriously and joyfully over it, too.
Now what, indeed! Now friends, believe that the Man of Sorrows is well able to carry what you cannot. Trust him, as you rest in his shade, to catch all the grief and worry you spill onto the ground at his feet.
And as you prepare to re-enter this crazy world, pick up only what he asks you to carry for today - your reasonable load, well measured for your current capacity. Not yesterday’s griefs, not tomorrow’s worries, but just the bearable burden of this hour, this day. With readjusted grips, and lightened loads, You Are Strong even when you thought you were weak.
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalms 91:1-2