Tuesday, November 22, 2011

GUEST WRITER WEEK: MARTHA MURDY ORLANDO



LAY YOUR BURDEN DOWN

Matthew 11:28: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."Many long years ago, in going through a far from cordial divorce, I found myself floundering in a veritable sea of stress. I was juggling too many balls, none of which, I thought, I could afford to drop.

Still a wet-behind-the-ears Christian, I did not understand how calling on God, whom I assumed had many more important things to do, would afford me the relief I so desperately needed. I claimed my burdens as my own, determined to ride out the storm by myself. Big mistake!

One morning, I awoke to a dull throbbing in my shoulders. As the day wore on, my muscles continued to contract until the tension in them was like that of a wildcat poised to pounce. It was a hardship to stand up straight due to the discomfort.

By nightfall, I was not only enduring the pain in my shoulders, but also a sharp aching in my knees. My body felt as though I had carried a 50-pound pack on a 20-mile hike.

The next day was no better; nor was the next and the one after that. Pain relievers proved useless. It was a struggle to put on a brave face for my young children, acting as though nothing was wrong when I felt my body, my life, was falling apart. When tears arose, I'd lock myself in the bathroom until the wave subsided.

It was during one of these escapes that I looked at my face, so tense and drawn, in the mirror and finally addressed God.

Why am I in so much pain, Lord? What's happening to me? Am I ever going to feel better? I can't take much more of this. Please, Lord, I need your help!"

That's when the answer popped into my head. Tomorrow was Sunday. I would go to the altar rail when it was time for special prayer requests. I would ask for prayers for healing.
~
As I limped away from the rail that morning, a friend who had come up for a birthday blessing, put her arm around me as we headed back to our pews.

"You have Atlas Syndrome," she whispered in my ear.

"I have what?" I answered, completely clueless.

"Atlas Syndrome - you're carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders," she explained with a smile, giving me a reassuring hug. "Give that burden to the Lord. It's not yours, it's His."

Epiphany! As she slipped into her pew and I hobbled back to mine, I resolved then and there to ask Jesus to lift this unbearable burden from me. I prayed silently, fervently, throughout the remainder of the service. I believed, for the first time in my infantile Christian walk, that He was truly there for me. I trusted fully in His power to heal and to carry my cares.

By the following day, my pain had completely vanished.

Thanks be to God!

What burden are you shouldering today that belongs to the Lord, and not to you?

Will you pray with me?
The trials and tribulations can weigh us down and steal our joy if we let them, Father. Help us to always remember that no burden is too heavy to bear for the One who carried the cross weighted with the sins of the whole world. With thankful hearts, let us place all our worries and cares in the competent hands of Jesus. May we find rest for our weary souls in Him. Amen.



Readings:
Psalms 26, 28 or 36, 39
Lamentations 1:1-5 (6-9) 10-12
1 Corinthians 15:41-50
Matthew 11:25-30



(Image courtesy Google Images)
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