Have you ever participated in a tug of war? I think the closest I have come to a tug of war is pulling a Christmas cracker in the hope that I will get the joke, the gift inside and the bigger bit of cracker. A full on tug of war is a ‘sport that directly puts two teams against each other in a test of strength: teams pull on opposite ends of a rope, with the goal being to bring the rope a certain distance in one direction against the force of the opposing team’s pull’ (thanks Wikipedia).
It also happens to represent exactly how my heart feels at the moment. My heart is the rope and it is the arena of a spiritual battle. I feel that it is being pulled and stretched. In life there are things that compete for my heart. On one side, I feel like I am being pulled into bitterness, anger and resentment for the things that have happened to me. On the other, I am resisting this and clinging onto the loving arms of the Lord. As I write this, it is hard to get the words out because I am inwardly wrestling with some really challenging stuff at the moment. Trudging through the trenches. Walking through the valley – crawling more like.
On Easter Sunday, it was a time to celebrate that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has risen in glory and He has defeated the power of sin and death. It is the hope that we have as Christians – if the resurrection of Jesus didn’t happen then our faith is futile (1 Corinthians 15:17). This is the greatest news. Yet on the morning of Easter Sunday, I went to church with the heaviest of hearts.
Towards the end of the service, the pastor encouraged us to respond to the great news of the risen Jesus by giving our concerns over to Him. Large rocks in trays were on a table at the front. One by one, people took a rock which represented any burdens they felt they were carrying and placed them underneath the large cross. It was a response to what Jesus wants us to do with all our hurts, fears, anxieties and anything else that weighs heavy on our hearts. Place them before Him – cast all of the burdens on Him for He will sustain you (Psalm 55:22).
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
I said to God, “My heart is heavy. If I go and lay the rock down, please let my heart feel lighter.”
I walked to the front and grabbed the biggest rock I could see. I even thought about grabbing the whole tray of rocks! Crouching at the foot of the cross I placed it down.
Even though the struggles are still very much real and have not vanished, I am reminded that I am not carrying them by myself. Even when I feel that there is a battle going on in my heart, I know that it is God who is the strength of my heart (Psalm 73:26).
As more and more people got up and placed their rocks – their burdens – at the foot of the cross, a song played that captured this moment beautifully (see below). Maybe today your response could be to listen to it and lay your burden down today to God in prayer. You don’t need a rock to do it, although you might want to go for a walk and find one!
My prayer is that your heart may feel a little lighter from the worries of the world knowing that you can bring everything that you are struggling with to the Lord.