Backache

When the back hurts, we might as well just hurt all over.
If we carry too much weight we pay for it with our aching backs. Relax. This is not about weight. This is about much more than pounds. This is about responsibilities, guilt, debt, ambition, regret, fear—all sorts of invisible things that bear no material weight at all but register heavy on internal scales for they are invisible too.

The biblical word for this kind of weight is “burden.”
This is also a metaphor for heavy loads that people had to carry around before God blessed the world with pickup trucks, handcarts, furniture dollies and such mechanical beasts of burden. (Can I get an “Amen!)

There is a lot in the Bible about burdens:

  • Heavy burdens and light ones
  • Impossible burdens,
  • Burdens of sin and guilt, and
  • taxing responsibilities weighing heavy on us.

We may “shoulder” the load but our backs carry the weight in tension and strain and pain.

Are we stuck?

If we are faithful people we accept responsibility, people count on us, and the pressure to perform lies heavy on us. These are unavoidable facets of being a good person. Good things become the weight, the burden we carry. And, as well-intended and godly we may be, our backs hurt.

Jesus is our burden-bearer.
One of the best parts of the Good News is this: Jesus is not only our Sin-bearer, He is our Burden-bearer. When He shouldered the cross, He also shouldered our daily burdens. It is not news to Him that we have been given impossible things to do in His name. We need to realize that “in His name” means “in His strength.”

In my first pastoral position, I was “Youth Pastor and Minister of Music.” I had just spent four years as a high school band director so it was easy for me to love the teens in that church. I had a dream one night. The kids in the youth group were all asleep in various positions all over the sanctuary like of sheep. Jesus stood on the church platform with a tall shepherd’s staff watching the little “flock.” In the dream I walked up to Jesus, tapped Him on the shoulder and said, “OK, Lord, I’ll take it from here.”

I woke up in a sweat of realization that I had just been rebuked. I had taken too much on myself.

Backaches come from such over-reaching.
We have to learn how to let Jesus shoulder the load He has given us to carry. There is no use trying to serve God with a sore back.

Because, when the back hurts, we might as well just hurt all over.

Scriptures:
Psalm 38
O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. For your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down upon me. Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; my bones have no soundness because of my sin. My guilt has overwhelmed me
like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart. All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. …I wait for you, O Lord; you will answer, O Lord my God. For I said, “Do not let them gloat or exalt themselves over me when my foot slips.” … O Lord, do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God. Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Savior.
Psalm 55:21 NKJV
Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Psalm 68:19 NIV
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.

Prayer:
Burden Casting Confession
From Psalm 55:22 and 1 Peter 5:6-7 (adapted SRP)
Today, I cast my burden upon You, Lord. You will sustain me. As I stand in the righteousness of Jesus, You will never permit me, to be shaken, to slip or to fall. Therefore I humble myself under Your mighty hand, O God. Exalt me in due time. I cast all my care upon You, for You care for me.
(From “The Book of Daily Worship: Seven Days of Prayer”)

Song:
Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary
Words and Music: John H. Moore

1. Days are filled with sorrow and care, Hearts are lonely and drear.
Burdens are lifted at Calvary, Jesus is very near.

Refrain:
Burdens are lifted at Calvary, Calvary, Calvary;
Burdens are lifted at Calvary, Jesus is very near.

2. Cast your care on Jesus today, Leave your worry and fear.
Burdens are lifted at Calvary, Jesus is very near.

Refrain

3. Troubled soul, the Savior can feel Every heartache and tear.
Burdens are lifted at Calvary, Jesus is very near.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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