When you have a specific prayer on your heart for someone who is hurting, it is a burden. But, it is so very much worth carrying. Jesus asked that we carry it.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30 KJV)
This is one of those paradox things that those who do not know Him find difficult to understand. I’ve read them saying, “What?! This guy promises rest, then tells you to act like a beast of burden and carry His load? You Christians sure are strange.”
OK, so they wouldn’t capitalize the pronoun, but I do. And I know from my own experience that the burden is light – for many reasons.
Let’s take this particular burden. There is a girl who grew out of my Sunday School class. A couple of years before she arrived there, she came on Wednesdays through our bus program, then rode the bus on Sundays. I won’t go into her family situation, party because it would be too identifying, and partly because it is the same as so many others in one way – broken family, uninterested in church.
I saw the change in her attitude, her dress, her interest in reading the Bible. I saw her go forward, giving her heart to Christ, then returning to kneel at the altar in prayer, time after time. I also saw that for those few, short hours each week, she was getting answers to questions she had, digging deeper into God’s word. She was one of our best students. Only two of our class took the time and effort for extra credit and we took them out to lunch. A special trip to a restaurant they got to choose.
It was our last time together. She ceased coming to church. Not rude to visitors, but not responsive to their visits, either. Just as her earlier commitment to Christ brought changes, so did this tossing away. Changes in dress to emphasis physical attributes; change in attitude to uncaring, neglectful and thoughtless.
Christ’s parable of the sower comes to mind. Beginning in Mark 4:3, Christ tells that parable. I’m not certain if this situation is stony ground, or thorns. Both could apply.
And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. (Mark 4:16-17 KJV)
And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. (Mark 4:18-19 KJV)
What does all of this have to do with the burden? Well, I feel as strongly for her soul as Paul did for the Colossians.
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you,
and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Colossians 1:9-10 KJV)