The Burden of the Lord

Over the past year, God has been teaching me about a new realm for me in the spirit, and it’s only been recently that the pieces have started making sense to me. Depending on your gift and call, some of you will identify deeply with this. For others, it might not make a lot of sense, but here it is nonetheless!

This past year, God began to open my eyes to the ways that I was misinterpreting the spirit of God. Many times when God would lay something on my heart, my mind would interpret it in the context of my current circumstances, current prayers, or current concerns. Over the past several years, God has been taking me on a journey away from unhealthy introspection, and He’s been teaching me that when He lays something on my heart, it’s not about me, but it’s about something that’s on His heart.

Take an experience from this past year. I went from experiencing a spiritual high and enjoying the presence of God, to feeling this burden in my heart. The next day or two, I probably prayed everything imaginable out of my life (and maybe even more!). It felt like something was wrong, and I was intent on figuring out what it was! And I was pretty sure something was wrong with me! At the end of the second day, I joined in a group ministry time. We got to encounter God’s presence and got to see Him reach down and touch some lives in dramatic ways. It wasn’t until after the ministry time was over that I realized that the burden was gone.

That’s when I began realizing just how much these burdens had to do with things that God wanted to do. I found that sometimes the burden had nothing to do with ministry and everything to do with just getting into the presence of God in travailing prayer and intercession.

I began to realize two things:

  • These burdens don’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with me.
  • God will lead me into the situation He wants me to minister. If I don’t know what to do, I come into His presence and just lay it back before Him. Until He reveals more, that’s enough.

This fall, one of my friends told me about the burdens that he sometimes carries, and something inside of me connected deeply with that. There are times when I could weep, but I have no words for what or why I’m weeping. I used to go down the psychological road and try to figure out if it was from loneliness, woundedness, or even childhood pain. Don’t get me wrong; I am human. I can get lonely sometimes, I can have bad days, and my childhood wasn’t utopia. But if that’s the place I always go when God lays a burden on my heart, I’ll always be stuck in introspection and confusion, and I’ll never get on to where God wants to take me.

Similarly, I’ve had to learn to separate my feelings from my faith. Many times my spiritual journey doesn’t feel all that great. Sometimes it’s sky-high, sometimes it’s normal, and sometimes it’s outright terrible. If I base my faith on my feelings, I limit God from being able to lay things on my heart.

There was something else my friend pointed out: the Hebrew word massa. It’s used 60 times in the Old Testament. It’s used 30 times from Genesis to Proverbs, referring mostly to carrying objects or loads, being responsible, or being in charge. However, once you get to the prophets, this word is used to refer to the “word of the Lord” or the “oracle of the Lord”. There’s a “weight” or a “burden” that’s associated with the word of the Lord.

I believe that the prophet of God has an unusual connection with the heart of God.  When God laughs, he laughs. When God weeps, he weeps. For the prophet to mature, he must learn to separate the things of his heart from the things of God’s heart. Until he does that, he’s going to be confused because he won’t be able to figure out why his feelings are so crazy. However, once he does that, he discovers that he has incredible access into the heart of God.

The prophet also has to learn to discern between:

  • A burden from the spirit of God, which I’m describing.
  • Part of the flesh that hasn’t died, which you just need to die to, so get over it and do it already!
  • Opposition from the enemy.

For example, if you’re selfish and get offended, it doesn’t mean that God’s laying a burden on your heart. It means that your flesh is alive and needs to be crucified. I can’t tell you right now how to distinguish between those, but you need to be aware of these sources, and God can bring clarity to you.

Let’s get practical. What should we do with these burdens?

First of all, I’ve heard it said (and I believe it true) that it’s easy for the prophet to pick up burdens from other people and carry them for a while. In 1 Corinthians 14:32 says, “The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.” And Proverbs 25:28 says, “He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls.” We need to learn when to carry burdens and when to lay them down.

Second of all, I think we need to realize that God created us for himself. God talks about His people being friends of His. Part of becoming someone’s friend is getting to know who they are, how they think, and what they feel. It’s much easier to assume a “slavery” mindset that drives us to  “solve” what’s going on. However, many times I find God is looking for someone to partner with Him. He will lead me into the situation He wants me to minister to. Maybe He’ll give me special compassion for someone. Maybe He’ll just invite me into His presence, and I’ll just wait for Him there. When I’m there in His presence, sometimes He reveals something, and sometimes I just get to enjoy being with my Father-God. I find it really hard to put a formula on this, except that it requires a relationship with God!

It feels like I’m throwing a lot out there for you guys. As always, I love to hear feedback.

I might add that this same truth applies to prophetesses. It’s just easier to express myself this way.

One comment

  1. I printed this off so that I can finish digesting it and/or show it to a few other people. One thing that amazed me a bit and I wondered…if you are close to God, would feeling what he feels bring confusion? Is what he feels and what I in my redeemed heart feel that different? And yet, with an earthly friend we do sense what the other person feels even when we do not know why he feels it. So actually it does make sense after all.

Leave a comment