“Throw Your Burden upon Jehovah”
AMONG the things for which the true servants of Jehovah God have been noted is their happiness. It is indeed true, “Happy is the people whose God is Jehovah!” Their happiness, however, does not come to them automatically. To obtain genuine happiness requires, among other things, heeding the inspired advice: “Throw your burden upon Jehovah himself, and he himself will sustain you.” You cannot be happy if you are burdened down.—Ps. 144:15; 55:22.
How can you throw your burdens upon Jehovah? By faith and prayer, even as we read: “Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.” Jesus Christ made the same point in his Sermon on the Mount, saying: ‘Stop being anxious. Your heavenly Father feeds the birds. Are you not worth more than they are? And if God clothes the lilies of the field with a glory greater than that of Solomon, will he not much rather clothe you, you with little faith? So never be anxious as to what you are to eat, drink or wear. For your heavenly Father knows you need all these things.’—Phil. 4:6, 7; Matt. 6:25-32.
Yes, by exercising faith and through prayer to Jehovah God you can throw upon him all your burdens in the form of anxieties, worries, fears, frustrations and all other negative emotions. And this you need to do to have peace of mind allowing for happiness. In fact, doing so is even necessary for your physical well-being because of the psychosomatic principle.
THE BURDEN OF BEING WRONGED
What are some of these burdens that you can throw upon Jehovah? For one thing, there are the emotional burdens that life brings with it. These in particular tend to interfere with your being happy. For example, you might be burdened down emotionally because of having been wronged. You might resent this and want to retaliate or pay back in kind. Or you may not be able to do anything about it and so you let your frustration out on others or you let it make you bitter. Yet how foolish! Needlessly you are bearing a very heavy burden.
The wise course is to heed the counsel of the inspired apostle Paul: “Return evil for evil to no one. . . . Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written: ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says Jehovah.’” That is the right as well as the wise course, for it keeps you from becoming presumptuous and arrogating to yourself the role of judge and executioner. By telling Jehovah about it and letting him take care of it you rid yourself of a great burden indeed.—Rom. 12:17, 19.
That this is both the wise and the right course to take, David of old illustrated in his relation with King Saul, who hounded him and repeatedly tried to kill him. David could have taken the law into his own hands, as it were. On two occasions he had the opportunity to slay King Saul, but he did not do so. No question about Saul’s persecution of David being a burden to him. But David threw this burden upon Jehovah, saying: “As Jehovah is living, Jehovah himself will deal him a blow; or his day will come and he will have to die, or down into battle he will go, and he will certainly be swept away. It is unthinkable, on my part, from Jehovah’s standpoint, to thrust my hand out against the anointed of Jehovah!” And that is just the way things did work out. King Saul was wounded in battle and took his own life, and David became his successor upon the throne of Jehovah in Jerusalem without David’s lifting a finger against his persecutor King Saul.—1 Sam. 26:10, 11; 1 Ki. 2:11.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whom David foreshadowed, took the same wise and loving course, even as appears from the record of his life as found in the four Gospels. He could have let the people make him king and then turned the tables on his persecutors, but he did not. Rather, as the apostle Peter tells: “He [Jesus] committed no sin, nor was deception found in his mouth. When he was being reviled, he did not go reviling in return. When he was suffering, he did not go threatening, but kept on committing himself to the one who judges righteously.” Like David of old, Jesus Christ threw this burden upon Jehovah. He humbly submitted himself to whatever his heavenly Father permitted to come upon him, leaving it up to his heavenly Father to avenge him, which Jehovah did in his due time.—1 Pet. 2:22, 23; Matt. 23:35, 36.
‘DO NOT GET HEATED UP’
Today there is widespread wickedness in every land. Sexual immorality is rampant. Dishonesty in business matters has honeycombed society from the biggest corporations to the humblest employee. Citizens cheat their government out of taxes and flout traffic regulations. All of this makes it more difficult for lovers of righteousness to live up to their high principles. What shall they do? Let all this wickedness unduly disturb them and rob them of their peace of mind? Such would not be wise.
To do so would be carrying a needless burden. Instead, heed the counsel that divine wisdom gives, not to bear this burden but to throw it upon Jehovah. Note the words of King David, who had many opportunities to heed this counsel in his own life: “Do not show yourself heated up because of the evildoers. . . . Trust in Jehovah and do good . . . For evildoers themselves will be cut off, but those hoping in Jehovah are the ones that will possess the earth.” By exercising faith that Jehovah God in his due time will straighten out matters, you will be throwing your burden upon Him instead of trying to carry it yourself. You will thus allow room in your life for happiness.—Ps. 37:1, 3, 9.
PHYSICAL AND OTHER HANDICAPS
There is no doubt about physical handicaps’ being a burden to the Christian. Polio may have left one lame, so one has difficulty in walking and especially in climbing stairs as one goes from house to house preaching the good news of God’s kingdom. Or one may be plagued by failing or poor eyesight. Another may be afflicted with partial deafness. Still another is feeble because of advancing age. These may be circumstances over which one has no control. But how shall these be viewed? As frustrating handicaps that rob one of the joys of serving God? By no means!
The apostle Paul had what he called a “thorn in the flesh,” which he repeatedly asked Jehovah to remove. While Jehovah did not remove it, he did relieve Paul of its burdening frustration by saying, in effect, ‘Do not let it worry you, Paul. I understand. I’m not asking more of you than you can do under the circumstances.’ Or, as Paul himself put it: “He really said to me: ‘My undeserved kindness is sufficient for you; for my power is being made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, will I rather boast as respects my weaknesses, that the power of the Christ may like a tent remain over me.” Getting God’s viewpoint of these handicaps or disabilities relieves one of the frustrating burden and allows one to have peace of mind and happiness.—2 Cor. 12:9.
There are, however, certain other burdens aside from anxieties, worries, fears, frustrations and other negative emotions that are the lot of the Christian and that he must himself bear. For example, the governing body of the Christian congregation in Jerusalem wrote the early Christians scattered abroad: “The holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to you, except these necessary things, to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication.” Christians have certain responsibilities that they must shoulder.—Acts 15:28, 29.
And there are also certain burdens or ‘heavy things’ that we can help others to bear, even as Paul told Christians to do: “Go on carrying the burdens of one another, and thus fulfill the law of the Christ.” Yes, “we, though, who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those not strong.” How can Christians do this? By being patient with them, by bearing with them, by helping to make up for their shortcomings and deficiencies, by not expecting too much of them. Jesus set a fine example for us in this regard in the patient manner in which he dealt with his apostles.—Gal. 6:2; Rom. 15:1.
There are burdens that we must carry ourselves—with Jehovah’s help. And others have burdens that we can help them to carry. But such burdens as worries, anxieties, fears and frustrations we need not and should not carry. These are some of the burdens that the psalmist tells us to throw upon Jehovah. Implied, of course, is doing all you can yourself, and, having done that, you can leave the results and the future in God’s hands.
So do not let injustices or persecution embitter or discourage you; do not get heated up because of the prosperity of evildoers; do not chafe because of physical or other weaknesses or conditions over which you have no control. Do your best and leave all these disturbing things in Jehovah God’s hands by means of faith and prayer. Doing so will help you to know the happiness of the people whose God is Jehovah.—Ps. 144:15.