What’s going on in your life today?

Do you have a busy day? Light day? Are you working from home still? Do you have a project in front of you? Are you overwhelmed with work or worries?

No matter the answer to the questions above or what’s going on in our lives, we long for the Lord to guide us and bless us. But how can we know that the Lord is guiding our steps and establishing our path?

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.

Psalm 37:5

Commit your work to the Lord,
    and your plans will be established.

Proverbs 16:3

The word “commit” in these two verses means “to roll upon.” It carries the notion of rolling onto or rolling away. In order to experience the Lord acting for us (through us) and establishing our plans, we need to “commit” or “roll” our situations, decisions, and work upon him. The image is a vibrant picture of trust. Instead of relying on our own energy, wisdom, or goodness, we actively trust the Lord when we roll our situation upon him to handle.

There are lessons to be gained from these verses.

  • Committing our way/work to the Lord means that we leave our burdens and worries with him. Too often, we pray about something, leave it with the Lord, and then when we get off our knees, we pick our burden, worry, or situation right back up. Many of us have a hard time letting God be in control. But if the Lord can strengthen Moses to lead Israel out of slavery in Egypt, empower David to kill Goliath and become king, encourage Jeremiah to prophesy faithfully to a people who ignored him, and enable Jesus’ followers to take the message of the gospel to the world, then he can most certainly handle your burden. He is able to strengthen you, establish you, and carry the weight you think you must carry. It’s time to roll your burden onto the Lord.
  • Committing your way/work to the Lord means rolling them “away” to the Lord. Have you ever tried to push something heavy up a hill? The Greek myth of Sisyphus who was forced to roll a boulder up a hill for eternity is sometimes a bit too personal for us. We like to think we are able. So we strive and strain to be in control, to get that burden up that hill, to accomplish that feat. And like Sisyphus, all too often we end up defeated and discouraged. Stop trying to do the impossible. It’s time for you to roll away your burden onto the Lord.
  • Committing your way/work to the Lord does not mean that you stop working. Let’s be clear here. We still have a job to do, a task to accomplish, or a project to finish. We remain responsible to work diligently. But we are not to carry the weight of something that is beyond us. We are finite and cannot do everything. So be faithful and hard-working, but commit the results and weight of your responsibilities to the Lord. Here’s an example in my own life. I get to preach weekly. It is a privilege to study, prepare, pray, and deliver sermons. This takes work that God is not going to do for me. But the burden of the results of preaching and the effect of God’s Word in the lives of others is not my responsibility. There have been times I’ve tried to carry God’s burden for the effect of preaching. It has not been a successful endeavor. It’s time for you to go to work and to roll the results and effects on the Lord.
  • Committing your way/work to the Lord means that what we model is what we’ll replicate in others. I believe there’s a hidden lesson in Psalm 37:5 and Proverbs 16:3. David wrote Psalm 37, and his son Solomon wrote Proverbs 16:3. The word “commit” is exactly the same in both passages and the lesson is almost exactly the same. Don’t you think Solomon learned the lesson of Proverbs 16:3 from his father? I think it is very likely. Whatever you’re dealing with, whatever you’re responsibility, whatever your burden, someone is watching. Your spouse, children, co-workers, neighbors, or grandchildren are watching. Will they see you stressed and angry? Burned out and frustrated? Or will they see you “commit” your way and work to the Lord. It’s time for you to roll your life and choices on the Lord.

It’s time for me to roll my work and ways on the Lord. Today, before I do anything else, I’m going to spend some time committing my day and circumstances to the Lord. Maybe you need to do that as well.

So pause.

Take a moment to list out the weights and burdens of life and work that you are carrying.

Then pray.

And with each burden and weight, commit it to the Lord.

Then leave your burdens with him.

I wonder if you would do me a favor after reading this? Will you pray for someone else that you know who is weighed down by their own burdens? Pray that they will be able to commit their day, work, circumstances, decisions, and stresses to the Lord. And if the Lord impresses it upon you, reach out to that person or persons you are praying for with a word of encouragement or an offer to help.

Over the last couple of years one of our staff members has shared a recurring encouragement to me. Mike Matheney has said to me to “Hang in there.”

In normal (pre-covid) circumstances and ministry, hanging in there is another way of encouraging perseverance. Over the last 18 months or so that phrase has taken on heightened significance.

Sometimes, it feels like we are barely hanging on.

In his book, Seven Leaders: Preachers and Pastors, Iain Murray reflected upon pastor and mentor Kenneth MacRea. MacRea pastored in a remote village off the coast of Scotland. When he was eighty MacRea penned these pertinent and insightful words:

There is only one thing I know I can do well. I cannot lead, but I can truthfully say that I am able to hang on. It may arise from natural stubbornness, but I know that popular religious movements which, despite their lack of scriptural support, carry away so many good people, leave me entirely unaffected. I believe that I can set my teeth and hold on, but that is all I am good for.

Kenneth MacRea, quoted by Iain Murray in Seven Leaders.

Did you catch that phrase, “able to hang on”? The context in the chapter reflects on pastoral ministry and theological fidelity, but the phrase is applicable in our situations today.

I’m writing this reflection on the day our county schools begin again. There is a lot going on in our lives. There are a lot of tensions and difficulties surrounding us in our community, in our personal lives, and across the world.

Are you able to hang on?

  • For some of us, hanging on has meant remote school, sending your kids back to school, and worrying about the spread of Covid in school.
  • For some of us, hanging on has meant dealing with sickness and recovering much more slowly than we would like.
  • For some of us, hanging on has meant grieving without the normal experiences of visitation, a funeral, and friends/family to hug and visit during the death of a loved one.
  • For some of us, hanging on has meant a loss of job or loss of freedom.
  • For some of us, hanging on has meant learning to do your job differently and changing habits and practices just to get by.
  • For some of us, hanging on has meant internal and psychological pressures that no one else will ever know.
  • For some of us, hanging on has meant remaining faithful to a spouse who doesn’t act with love toward you and trying to sustain a marriage that you’re not sure will make it.
  • For some of us, hanging on has meant learning new coping mechanisms to deal with the stresses of a pandemic and all the ways it has affected our lives.
  • For some of us, hanging on has meant __________________ (you can fill in the blank here).

You get it, don’t you? Maybe last month, maybe last year, maybe as you’re reading this right now, you’re just hanging on.

Some of us have both our hands wrapped around our situations hanging on rather easily. Others of us are hanging on with only one hand. And for probably more than a few of us, we feel like our fingers are slipping and we’re losing our grip.

What happens if you let go?

What happens if your grip slips?

What happens if you can’t hold on any longer?

If you are follower of Jesus, remember this.

If you let go, if your grip slips, if you stop hanging on, then you will be ok. Jesus is holding on to you and holding on for you.

Jesus gave us this assurance:

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

John 10:27-30

Jesus promised that he is hanging on to us. Jesus promised that the Father is hanging on to us. And no one (circumstance, burden, difficulty, sickness, person, Satan, etc.) can pull us from the hand of our Savior.

No matter what’s going on today, this week, or in the internal processes of your life, remember that you are in the hands of Jesus.

Hang on. Hold on. Don’t let go. Trust in the Lord. Take time to read Psalm 31. Pray for the Lord’s deliverance and rescue. Take time to read John 10. Rest in the hand of Jesus.

Hang in there. But if you let go, remember that Jesus won’t.

Photo by Dương Trần Quốc on Unsplash