While working on a book this week, I ventured on a word study from Psalm 55:22, which says, “Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” For some reason, the word cast caught my attention.
I remembered fishing by a small lake when I was ten years old and doing a horrible job at throwing my hook into the water. My lure caught my shorts, my hair, my cousin, and a nearby Styrofoam cup. At different times, I sat waiting for the little bubbles to form on top of the water. When they appeared, I threw my line in, but then jerked it back out again.
I watched as my family reeled in large and small fish, while I hooked tree bark. To add to my shame, my sister and my cousins ditched their poles and started to catch small fish with their bare hands and an empty bucket. Sure, I tried that too, but instead of corralling fish, I landed in the water with a bruised bottom.
The evening fell, and I stood on the shore, still trying to cast my line into the water. I want to say as my father walked me back to camp that I returned triumphant with a fish for my dinner, but it never happened.
Nonetheless, I look back at the trials I have overcome this year, and I realized that I have not mastered casting my cares on God either.
I did a quick word study using my favorite Bible websites and found that according to Strong’s Hebrew Concordance, the word cast (#7993) means to throw down, throw out, hurl, or thrust away from you. The Concordance also showed that the original Hebrew word, cast, in Psalm 55, is an imperative word, which means it is a command.
Interesting, I thought, “God wants me to throw my cares away from me.” My eye fell to the next verb in the verse: burden. Therefore, I looked up that word and found that Strong’s Hebrew Concordance describes burden (#3053) as, a lot, portion, or what is given—by providence.
I remembered the adage that says, “This is your lot in life, accept it.” The phrase fails us in that it encourages a harboring of difficult circumstances, and tells us to suffer under its control. But the Psalmist says the opposite. God gives you your portion, your lot, your burden, but then He then tells believers not to savor the hardship; don’t dwell in the aroma of your suffering. Don’t drag it around like a sack of potatoes. Don’t live with it. Don’t make it your friend—and don’t introduce it to others! (Okay, that’s an overemphasis on my part.)
I confess there were times in my life that I carried my burden on my sleeve and shared it with anyone who would listen. After a while, instead of receiving sympathy, my friends ignored my plight. Therefore, I polished my burden, added more details, and tossed it back to my circle of companions. However, my pals were not impressed by my prolong rehearsing of the same information.
C.S. Lewis once said, “Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.” Even so, it is William Gurnall who reminds us that, “We are bid to take, not to make our cross.”
I realized that God gives us a burden and sits back to see what we will do with it. If we throw it back on Him, like a blanket, we’ve succeeded because God will show Himself faithful, provide us with peace, and we will give Him the glory. But if we hold onto it, we will only prolong our relief.
Based on what I’ve learned, I look back at my fishing days. I wonder how many fish I would have caught if I had only left my line in the water and waited, rather than yanking the cord out and casting it in again. God commands us to toss our ration of suffering on Him, but He never tells us to jerk it back.
As the remaining of the verse in Psalm 55:22 promises (after we have cast our burden on Him), “He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” Isn’t that lovely?