A friend, a missionary who served in obscurity for decades, died yesterday. All the sweet words in the world did not lift the sadness from me. I visited Chuck’s Mom to bring her the sad news and to share a few minutes of caring with her. These encounters with mortality remind me, once again, just how important it is to build friendships and to keep close to the Best Friend, Jesus.
As the day closed, I sat at my piano and sang an old hymn that reminds me that His ‘love will never let me go.’ Friends stand with us, pour concern over us, offer words that help us to see the hope of a new day. Simon and Garfunkel got it right all those decades ago: a friend is a “bridge over troubled water!”
Where do we go when troubles come that no song can soothe? We go to the One whose love is eternal, the Friend of friends, Jesus! Peter, who had walked on some troubled water, invites you and me to “cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7, NKJV) Peter’s word – cast – only appears twice in the New Testament. It indicates action – ‘throwing something down!’ Those burdens of life, those intractable problems, those sorrows that arrive in our lives– need not crush us under their weight. We are invited to throw them onto the shoulders of an Almighty God who is not only Lord but Friend!
I took Peter’s counsel and ‘cast’ my burden on the Lord. How I love that disciple. He is the impulsive disciple. There is that story of the night when he was in a small boat when Jesus came walking on the water. He was terrified until he heard the Lord’s voice. Jesus invited him get out the boat and to walk on water. Once he was over the side, he saw the waves, and noting the ‘impossibility’ of his situation, he grew fearful and started to sink. His Friend reached out a hand to pull him up. Don’t you love that story?
On the worst night of his life, at first Peter showed more courage than all the other disciples except John, following Jesus to His place of trial. Then, fear took over and when pressed about his relationship with Jesus, he swore, “I never knew Him.” Weeks later, his Friend found him back in his fishing boat, a broken and disillusioned man. He sat down to breakfast with Peter and led him through a time of restoration, then He sent him out to “Feed my sheep!” At Pentecost, full of the Holy Spirit, Peter was revealed as a new man, the fearless apostle who preached on the streets of Jerusalem. Yes, this is the power of friendship with Jesus.
That man uses the action language innate to his personality. “Weighed down by concern, troubled by life? Throw it on the Lord! He is ready to care for you.”
Jesus warned us that “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” Is that the last word? No, it is not. He goes on to say, “But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”” (John 16:33, NLT) Our Friend is greater than our sorrow, wiser than our confusion, our Hope and Peace. Yes, death comes. Yes, social upheavals arrive. Yes, pandemics change our lives forever. Our Friend remains. Right now… take that heavy thing that is pressing on you, weighing you down in your grasp. Got it? Now, cast it on His strong shoulders: “Here it is. Thank you for helping me carry it, Lord. Amen.”
Here is the word from the Word. Meditate on His invitation.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me,
for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30, NKJV)
O Love That Will Not Let Me Go
O Love that will not let me go
I rest my weary soul in Thee
I give Thee back the life I owe
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer fuller be.
O Joy that seekest me through pain
I cannot close my heart to Thee
I trace the rainbow through the rain
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be
O Cross that liftest up my head
I dare not ask to fly from Thee
I lay in dust life’s glory dead
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be
Albert Lister Peace | George Matheson © Words: Public Domain