"Cast Thy Burden Upon
The Lord, And He Shall Sustain
The Psalmist wrote saying: "Cast thy
burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the
righteous to be moved" (Psalms 55:22). Christians should have the same
attitude the Psalmist spoke of, but too often it is found that such is not the
case. Why would a child of God fail to realize that they have a Father in
God that can do all things? Why do we allow ourselves to be burdened with
matters that we cannot control? Why do we lose sleep over situations that
worrying cannot solve?
Paul wrote to the brethren in Philippi
saying: "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the
peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds
through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7). As Paul said, we do not need to
suffer from things like anxiety [be careful for nothing meaning be anxious for
nothing]. God can help us with everything. As Christians we need to have enough
faith in God to know that we can ask Him for His help.
Certainly, we can ask in the wrong way and
even for the wrong things. If we ask doubting we can expect nothing (James
1:5-7). If we ask for something that is sinful or will aid us in committing sins
we know the Lord won't answer that prayer either (James 4:2-3). However, if we
are faithful to the Lord the kind of things we want help with will be things
that will aid us in carrying out our godly responsibilities.
Ask God for the Right Things
I can think of many examples of things
that people ask of God that are ignorant requests. I have often heard people
pray to God asking Him to show them the truth. God has already done that. The
truth is the word of God (John 17:17). The word of God is not something that
appears for a little time and vanishes away (Matthew 24:35). His word has been
revealed and fully equips us unto all good works (II Timothy 3:16-17). When we
are ignorant of truth we have to realize that God has already provided the means
by which we can know and obey the truth (John 8:32; cf. Romans
I have heard people ask God to help someone
obey the Gospel. Once again, God has already provided His word so that people
can obey Him (Acts 13:26, Romans 1:16, Ephesians 1:13, and II Timothy 3:15). God
allows man to choose right from wrong (Ezekiel 3:19, James 1:21-25, and James
4:17). God does not directly enter into hearts and change them. Repentance is a
choice that people, not God, must make before they can be saved (Acts 3:19).
That does not mean you should not pray for people to be saved (Romans 10:1).
Just know that God cannot make them do what they choose not to do.
People will ask God to help them win the
lottery and such things. God does not approve of covetousness (I Corinthians
6:9-10, Ephesians 5:3, and Hebrews 13:5). If we are capable, God requires us to
labor with our hands to meet our physical needs (II Thessalonians 3:10). In
fact, the Lord says: "Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he
that gathereth by labour shall increase" (Proverbs 13:11). So don't expect
the Lord to help you win a gambling spree when He does not approve of such a
thing. As God's people we need to be asking Him for things that matter knowing
He will supply.
Ask God for the Things That Matter
Above all things, we should approach God
asking Him to forgive our trespasses (Matthew 6:12). To have eternal life we are
solely dependent upon the Lord for He alone is the grantor of salvation (Psalms
55:16, Acts 4:10-12, and Romans 5:10). This is one area that we ourselves cannot
accomplish anything without the help of God. Notice what Isaiah penned:
"Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of
the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image,
and pray unto a god that cannot save. Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let
them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath
told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me;
a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye
saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else"
Pray to God for things that the Apostles
prayed for. Pray for those who mistreat you and others (Matthew 5:44). Use
prayer to thank God for the brethren you have (Romans 1:9). Pray that you and
other faithful saints may be delivered from persecution (Romans 15:30-31). Pray
for your brethren that the Lord might providentially help them to do what is
right (II Corinthians 13:7).
Pray for yourself and others to be bold in
declaring the Gospel of Christ (Ephesians 6:18-19). Pray for opportunities to
teach those who are lost the Gospel of Christ (Colossians 4:3 and II
Thessalonians 3:1). When you are afflicted you should pray to God about it
Paul said this to Timothy: "I exhort
therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving
of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority;
that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For
this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all
men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (I Timothy
2:1-4). These things matter. Praying that your car will start after a tune-up
seems somewhat silly after searching some of these weightier matters we should
be considering. Above all, we must know that our prayers will be answered.
God Will Answer
My children love to ask for things
all the time. Sometimes they'll ask for things that are not going to be good for
them. To these requests they'll always get an answer. Sometimes that answer is
no. God knows best what is good for His children. Sometimes we'll ask for things
that will not necessarily be good for us, even if we think those things would be
good for us.
Notice the following passages: "For
though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth:
but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me
to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure
through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the
flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above
measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from
me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is
made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my
infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take
pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in
distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong" (II
Corinthians 12:6-10). Sometimes, as Paul found out, what God has already given
to us is enough. Sometimes the answer is no.
God wants to help faithful Christians:
"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall
he not with him also freely give us all things" (Romans 8:32; cf. 8:28).
God is very merciful to His faithful children: "For as the heaven is high
above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the
east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like
as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him"
(Psalms 103:11-13). Thus, let us focus on being faithful so that we can also
have the greatest help ever in our times of need.
God will help us at times when others will
not: "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me
up" (Psalms 27:10). He will help us in ways that others can't (Psalms
86:10). We cannot count upon ourselves to solve all of our problems. We need to
learn to put them on broader shoulders. That's what the Father is here for! I
conclude with this: "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of
God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he
careth for you" (I Peter 5:6-7).