Matthew 11:28 – Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (NRSV)
I remember once, when I was about 11 or 12 years old, carrying a long aluminum extension ladder with my father. We had to walk quite a distance, and while aluminum is a lightweight metal, everything is relative. That ladder certainly seemed very heavy to me. Dad kept asking if I was all right, and I kept stubbornly insisting that I was, until finally I had to ask that we stop for a break. When we started up again, dad suggested that I move a little closer to the back of the ladder. I did, and suddenly the ladder was much lighter. From then on I had no difficulty carrying it at all.
I didn't realize until much later that the reason the ladder was suddenly much lighter was that by moving closer to the back I had transferred more of the ladder's weight to dad. My end felt lighter because his was heavier. When two people carry something together, they do not necessarily each bear the same share of the burden — sometimes one is carrying more than the other is. This was the case with the ladder. In fact, I am sure dad was carrying most of the weight, even before I complained.
It is comforting to know that this can also be the case with whatever emotional burdens we may be carrying. When we come to Jesus weary, with our heavy burdens, he does more than merely help us to carry them. Jesus bears most of the weight of our burdens himself. How blessed we are that Jesus is willing and able to carry even more than his fair share of the burdens we struggle with!
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for the rest which Jesus offers us. Too often we tire ourselves out by struggling to carry our burdens alone. Help us to remember that help in carrying those burdens is only a prayer away. Amen.