Carrying His Load

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by Ray DeGraw

I had an interesting insight during a prayer one morning a few years ago in one of the meetings I attended as a High Councilor. 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 – in all my pondering over the years, I had 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 was a direct result of the contemplation I had 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 upon ourselves certain responsibilities. 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 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.

Psalms 55:22 says, in part:

Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee.

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.

Matthew 11:28-30 says, in part:

Take my yoke upon you.”

Here is what I learned during that prayer: The concepts in these three verses constitute a complete solution -but without the first and second, the third is impossible.

In simple terms, the Lord wants us to cast our own burdens at His feet and pick up those that He knows will give us strength and bring eternal life.

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 burdens 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.

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 weaknesses and tendencies – those things for which He has paid the price already – those burdens He is willing to carry on His own. 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, inadequacy or other 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. You are 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.

About Ray DeGraw

I am the husband of my high school sweetheart and father of six children. I basically have no life outside of family, work and church - except blogging, which I have been doing actively, to put it mildly, for the past 5 years. I have lived in almost every section of the United States and currently reside in Carson City, NV. I have written at Things of My Soul, Mormon Matters, Times & Seasons and - and commented more than occasionally at various sites in the Bloggernacle.

4 Responses to Carrying His Load

  1. Paul says:

    The verse in Ether is especially poignant to me. He does not necessarily promise to make evrery weakness strong. He says he gives men *weakness*, not weaknesses. I’ve wondered if I read too much into that difference, but King Benjamin teaches that the weakness of man is his natualness, and he prescribes the same remedy as in Ether: humility.

    Really nice post, Ray.

  2. Ray says:

    Thanks, Paul. I’ve come to believe quite strongly that one of the biggest issues we face in the Church is the lack of teaching about the concept I see as the foundation of our 2nd Article of Faith – that we aren’t punished for the weakness(es) we inherited naturally as a result of the Fall and that He will carry those burdens we can’t avoid if we simply give them to Him.

    We have focused so much on “doing” and “becoming” that, sometimes, especially for some people, it’s easy to forget the simple fact that He wants to carry our burdens and that “the truth shall make you free” has direct application to this mortal life by liberating us from our natural guilt and shame over things for which payment has been made already.

  3. Ray says:

    I should add that I LOVE the shift from focusing on doing to focusing on becoming – but I think we need to do a better job of teaching about how we have been forgiven already for so many things about which we tend to feel natural guilt and shame.

    I think such an understanding would change lots of current issues in the Church at the most fundamental level – and that it’s so badly needed by so many.

  4. Pam says:

    Great post! Very insightful. I love the picture plus the visual in your writing. I also like the way you ordered the three scriptures. His yoke makes life so much more worth living.

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