THE WORD: Blessings from burdens

“The Gathering of the Manna” by James Tissot (circa 1896) is painting in the collection of The Jewish Museum, New York. (Public Domain) 

“Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.” Psalm 143:9 

Any moment we may be stricken down.  

Each day is full of dangers — dangers we cannot see, and from which we cannot protect ourselves. Disease lurks in the air we breathe, and hides in the water we drink, or in the food we eat. Along the street where we walk, on the railway over which we ride — there are perils. Any moment we may be stricken down! There may be enemies who are plotting against us, conspiring to do us harm.  

There are certainly spiritual enemies, who are seeking to destroy us! The sunniest day is full of them. No African jungle is so full of savage and blood-thirsty wild beasts — as the common days in our lives are full of spiritual enemies and perils. These dangers are unseen — and hence cannot protect ourselves. “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy! He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour!” 1 Peter 5:8  

What, then, can we do? As we go out in the morning we can offer this prayer, “Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in You.” We can thus put our frail, imperiled lives — into the hands of our almighty God.  

“Cast your burden upon the Lord — and He shall sustain you.” Psalm 55:22. Every burden you have, you may cast on the Lord; that is, you may lay it on Him in prayer and by faith. But notice that God does not promise to lift the burden away — all He promises is to sustain you, that is, to give you strength to do the work, to bear the burden, to meet the difficulty, to master the hindrance or the obstacle. 

We need the burden. It is God’s gift to us, and has a blessing in it, which we cannot afford to miss. Prayer does not take our trials away — but it puts our life into the hands of God — so that in His keeping, we shall be kept from harm while we pass through our trials. It brings God’s grace into our heart — to preserve us from falling into sin; and God’s strength into our life — that we may be victorious over our enemies. 

Not to pray as we go into the day’s dangers and trials — is to meet them without the help of Christ, and surely to suffer hurt, and possibly to fall into sin.   

J.R. Miller was a pastor and former editorial superintendent of the Presbyterian Board of Publication from 1880 to 1911. His works are now in the public domain.