A few weeks ago I found myself feeling discouraged. I was confused, hurt, filled with worry and doubt. I just couldn’t understand why it was that my prayers had not yet been answered. I found myself in tears and in a vicious circle of thought. I would pray for help, then worry about what I should do next. Then pray for an answer to my prayers, followed by a prayer for God’s will, followed by more worry.
Then a different thought popped in my mind. Lay it all down. I took a deep breath and prayed but my prayer was different this time. I told the Lord I could no longer worry about this. The burden of worrying, wondering, questioning, was too much. So rather than continue on in this pattern, I told Him I wanted to lay it all down at the foot of the cross. To leave it all fully in His hands.
With this new prayer, the tears stopped instantly. I felt peace. I felt calm. I felt truly at rest.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11:28)
As the days went on, I felt the same doubts creep back in. I quickly prayed again to lay this down, to give it to the Lord. And while I did feel peace, the same feelings kept resurfacing. I felt frustrated. I already laid it down! Why is this still bothering me so? I didn’t want to worry. But somehow I kept feeling it creep in.
“Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:7-11)
Jesus has promised us peace. But that does not mean we are exempt from hardships. Because of the deep love our Lord has for us, we can cast all our worries His way and He will give us peace and rest. Even so, in this word we are constantly faced with temptation. Faced with trials, suffering, worries and fear. That may never change. What we can change is the way we react.
We are called to remain steadfast in faith. To remain strong against the negative thoughts and worries the devil tries to throw our way. To remember that we are not alone in the trials that we face. As the weight of the world bears down upon us, we may find ourselves needing to offer our fears, doubts, and sufferings up to Him over and over again. But no matter how many times we cry out, no matter how heavy the burden we wish to unload, God is always there to fill us with love, hope, joy, and peace. We just have to lay it all down.