Burdens into Bridges

Go to the ant, you sluggard;  consider its ways and be wise!  Proverbs 6:6

It seems to me that God often takes the little things, the seemingly unimportant, when he wants to catch our attention. That reminds me of the ants. Some years ago I was watching an ant struggling to move a piece of straw about five times its size. It was a mammoth effort. The ant pulled, pushed, and at times it even lifted its burden as it attempted to deliver its load to the nest. Along the way the ant came to a crack in the ground which was just a little too wide for it to cross. Tottering on the edge, the ant tried desperately to reach the other side, but to no avail. It stood for a time, seemingly perplexed by the situation, and then, to my surprise, put the straw across the crack and walked over the bridge.

I’m sure there was a look of absolute incredulity on my face. I couldn’t believe that something as insignificant as an ant could be so wise. After all, the ant is little more than tissue and folic acid. Yet this insect had the ability to convert its burden into a bridge.

If we only had the sense of the ant. We seem to carry our burdens and never think of laying them down and converting them into bridges, of having our burdens bear us up instead of allowing them to bear us down. For unlike the ant, many of us struggle from day to day as we try to make progress under heavy loads like guilt, anger, bitterness, pride, hatred, discord, jealousy, selfish ambition, feelings of insecurity, impurity, immorality, bad temper, gluttony, drug addiction, drunkenness, and more.

So how do we deal with these burdens? How do we learn the secret of converting our burdens into bridges? And how do we make the kind of progress whereby we’re borne up by our burden instead of being borne down by it?

The Bible provides the answer.

Firstly, let go of your burden by confessing your sin. “If we confess our sins,” God “is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” I John 1:9.

Secondly, lay down your burden by casting it on God. “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you” Psalm 55:22.

Thirdly, leave your burden by committing your way to the Lord. The Apostle Paul exemplifies this principle. Throughout his life he had been afflicted with a physical ailment which he referred to as a thorn in his flesh (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7). But when he recognized the burden to be a part of God’s will for him, he exclaimed, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Finally, look beyond yourself and help carry someone else’s burdens.  So “carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” Galatians 6:2.

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