C H Spurgeon
Metropolitan Tabernacle, London,
19 August 1886
Thus I have shown you what we are tempted to do when we are like this good man who was in such an evil case.
Now I am going to show you, from the text, as the Holy Spirit shall help me, WHAT WE ARE COMMANDED TO DO. That is,“Cast thy burden upon the Lord.” Thou hast a burden upon thy back, it is too heavy for thee to bear, so cast it upon the Lord.
“How shall I do that?” someone asks. Well, if you are a child of God, I invite you, first of all, to trace your burden back to God. “But it comes from the treachery of Ahithophel, or from the rebellion of Absalom.” I grant you that it does; but those are only the second causes, or the agents, trace the matter back to the Great First Cause. If you do that, you will come, by a mystery which I will not attempt to explain, to the hand of divine providence, and you will say of every burden,“This also cometh from the Lord.” You have probably seen a dog, when he has been struck with a stick, turn round, and bite the staff that smote him. If he were a wise dog, he would bite the man who held the stick that dealt the blow. When God uses his rod upon one of his children, even a godly man will sometimes snap at the rod.“But, sir, surely you would not have me turn upon my God?” Oh, no! I know you will not do that, for you are his child; and when you see that God is holding the rod in his hand, you will cease to be rebellious, and you will say, with the psalmist,“‘I was dumb with silence.’ I was going to speak, but I opened not my mouth, because I saw that it was in thine hand that the rod of chastisement was held.” It is well always to trace our trials direct to God, and say, “It may be Judas Iscariot who has betrayed me; but, still, it was planned in God’s eternal purpose that I should be betrayed; so I will forget the second cause, except it be to pray God to forgive the malice of the betrayer, and I will look to the Lord who permitted the trial to come upon me for his own glory and for my good.”
The next thing thou hast to do is this. Seeing that the burden is from God, patiently wait his time for its removal. There are some people, who, if they had a task set them by some great one whom they respected and revered, would cheerfully perform it. If, in the middle of the night, you were called up by a Queen’s messenger, and bidden to do something for Her Majesty, you would be glad to rise and dress, even though it might be a cold night, and you might have far to go to fulfil your commission; and if you feel that your burden is from the Lord,—if the King’s arms are stamped upon the affliction or trial that comes to you, straightway you will say, “As the Lord wills it, I will bear it without complaining. When it is his time to deliver me, I shall be delivered; and so long as it is his time for me to suffer, I will suffer patiently.” I wish that all Christians could be like that good old woman who was asked whether, as she was so very ill, she would prefer to live or to die, said that she had no preference whatever, she only wished that the will of the Lord might be done. “But, still, if the Lord said to you, ‘Which will you have?’ which would you choose?” She said, “I would not even then choose, but I would ask the Lord to choose for me.” You see, whenever anything comes to us from God, we have not the responsibility of it; but if it came through our own choice, then we might say to ourselves, “What fools we were to choose this particular trial!” You say that you do not like the cross God has sent you. Well but, at any rate, it is not by your own choice that you have to carry that particular cross. It is God who chose it for you; whereas, if you had selected it, you might well say, “Oh, dear me, what a mistake I made when I chose this burden!” Now, you cannot say that; and I pray that you may have grace to see that “the whole disposing” of your lot is, as Solomon says, “of the Lord.” The Hebrew of our text would bear such a rendering as this, “Cast on the Lord what the Lord gives thee. Cast on him what he casts on thee. See the marks of his hand on thy burden, and thou wilt be reconciled to thy load. Know that God sends it to thee, and patiently wait till he takes it away.”
F W Faber very sweetly writes, —
“I have no cares, O blessed Lord,
For all my cares are thine;
I live in triumph, too, for thou
Hast made thy triumphs mine.
“And when it seems no chance nor change
From grief can set me free;
Hope finds its strength in helplessness,
And patient, waits on thee.
“Lead on, lead on, triumphantly,
O blessed Lord, lead on!
Faith’s pilgrim-sons behind thee seek
The road that thou hast gone.”
One blessed way of casting our burden upon the Lord is to tell the Lord all about it. It is a high privilege to get away alone, and talk to God as a man talketh with his friend. But I know what you often do, my brothers and sisters. When you get into a cleft stick, and cannot tell what to do, then you begin to pray. Why do you not, every morning, tell the Lord about all your difficulties before they come? What! will you only run to him when you get into trouble? Nay, go to him before you get into trouble. Half our burdens come from what we have not prayed over. If a man would take the ordinary concerns of life distinctly to God, one by one, it is marvellous how easily the chariot of life would roll along. Things over which we have not prayed are like undigested food that breeds mischief in the body; they breed mischief in the soul. Do thou digest thy daily bread by praying first, “God give it to me, and then God bless me in the use of it, and then God bless me afterwards in the spending of the strength derived from it to his praise and glory.” Salt all your life with prayer, lest corruption should come to that part of thy life which thou hast not thus salted. Tell the Lord, then, thy griefs, just as, when a child, you told your troubles to your mother.
“I cannot find words,” says one. Oh, they will come. They come fast enough when you complain to man, and they will sweetly come if you get into the blessed habit of talking to God about everything. A friend said to me, not long ago, “I was on the Exchange, and I saw that I had made a mistake in a certain transaction. I had lost money by it; and if I had gone on dealing in the same fashion, I should have been ruined. I just stepped aside for a minute or two into a quiet corner of my office. I stood still, and breathed a prayer to God for guidance. Then I went back, and felt, ‘Now I am ready for any one of you.’” “So I was, ”he said, “I was not confused and worried, as I should otherwise have been, and so liable to make mistakes, but I had waited upon God, and I was therefore calm and collected.” There is much wisdom in thus praying about everything; although, possibly, some of you may think it trivial. I believe that the very soul of Christianity lies in the sanctifying of what is called secular,—the bringing of all things under the cognizance of our God by intense, constant, importunate, believing prayer.
When you have told the Lord everything, the next thing for you to do, in order to cast your burden upon him, is to believe that all will work together for your good. Swallow the bitter as readily as you do the sweet; and believe that, somehow, the strange mixture will do you great good. Do not look out at thy window, judging this, and that, and the other, in detail; but, if God sent it to thee, open the door, and take it all in, for all that has come from him will be to his glory and to thy profit. Believe thou that, if thou shalt lose certain things, thou wilt really be a gainer by thy losses. Even if thy dearest one is taken from thee, all shall be well if thou hast but faith to trust God in it all. If thou thyself art stricken with mortal sickness, it will still be well with thee; and if thou dost still steadfastly trust in the Lord, thou shalt know that it is so. “We know,” says the apostle Paul; he does not say, “We think, we suppose, we judge,” but, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” If thou dost know this, my brother or my sister, it shall help thee to“cast thy burden upon the Lord.”
When thou hast done this, then leave thy burden with the Lord. In the process of trusting God with thy burden, get to this point, that thou hast done with it. If I cast my burden upon the Lord, what business have I to carry it myself? How can I truthfully say that I have cast it upon him if still I am burdened with it? Throughout my life, which has not been free from many grave cares, there have been many things which I have been able to see my own way through; and, using my best judgment, they have passed off well. But, in so large a church as this, there sometimes occur things that altogether stagger me. I do not know what to do in such a case as that; and I have been in the habit, after doing all I can, of putting such things up on the shelf, and saying, “There, I will never take them down again, come what may. I have done with them, for I have left them wholly with God;” and I wish to bear my testimony that, somehow or other, the thing which I could not unravel, has unravelled itself. When Peter and the angel“came unto the iron gate,” it “opened to them of his own accord;” and the same thing has happened to me many a time. “Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?” asked the holy women when they came to the tomb of their Lord;“and when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away.” Learn to say, “My God has made this difficulty, and there is some good result to come of it; I have done the little I can do, so now I will leave it all with him.” Ah, but I know what some of you do; you say that you have left it all with God, and then you lie awake all night fretting about it. Is that casting your burden upon the Lord? Oh, for a blessed literalism about the promises of God, and our faith in them, so that we take them to mean just what they say, and act upon them, accordingly! Now, if some poor woman here were sadly in debt for her rent, and she met with a Christian brother who said to her, “Do not fret, my good sister, I will see it all paid to-morrow;” do you think she would go running about, and saying, “O dear, I shall lose my things, my rent will not be paid”? No; she would say, “Mr. So-and-so, whom I know and trust, said that he would pay it for me, and I feel perfectly quiet about it.” Now, do thou so with thy God if thou knowest him. David said, “They that know thy name will put their trust in thee.” If thou truly lovest the Lord, it will be a proof of thy love to repose thy care upon him without questioning; and when thou hast cast thy burden upon him, it will prove the truth of thy having done so if thou art unburdened, and thy heart is at rest. If he beareth my burden, why should I also bear it? If he careth for me, what have I to do to vex myself with fretful, anxious cares?
I have thus done my best to show you what we are commanded to do: “Cast thy burden upon the Lord.”
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