Bearing burdens for Jesus like Nehemiah

(Photo: Unsplash/Jef Willemyns)

For almost seven years now I have carried a prophetic word God gave me in July of 2017. You can read about that here.

Over the past almost seven years, I have personally faced numerous spiritual attacks on myself, my family, and my leadership in pastoring and leading Vanguard Church in Colorado Springs.I tell you all that, to tell you this. What we carry for God, matters to God! And what we carry for God impacts everything about our lives, especially our relationships.

Now, none of us will carry what God asks us to carry perfectly, but nonetheless, if God asks you to carry it, don't stop! God spoke a prophetic word to me in 2001 and I had to carry it for almost six years. I talk about that in the book, "The Mystery of 23: God Speaks."

I find myself at times now begging God to release me from the burdens He has asked me to carry for Him. Maybe you can relate. Maybe He hasn't given you a prophetic burden to carry but instead you carry the burdens of a ministry you lead, friends who are struggling in their marriage or maybe it's your marriage that is struggling, a family member who hates you, a child who won't listen to you, a health issue you can't get relief from, a financial woe that won't let up, maybe a struggle you have never shared with anyone else. Maybe you are like me, maybe you are tired of carrying that burden. Weary, dare I say!

Nehemiah understood this dilemma of burdens for the Lord and weariness in the journey of carrying them. Listen to how He described it: "The burden bearers carried their loads in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and with the other held a weapon" Nehemiah 5:15. 

It is usually not just one burden we carry but multiple burdens. We labour in the work with one hand and fight to protect what's been entrusted to us with the other hand. Maybe you are weary. Maybe you are tempted to let go of the rope of what God has asked you to steward. Everything in you is screaming 'give up'! Fear is mounting. Frustration is growing. Fatigue is taking over. I can't tell you how many times I have felt this cycle in my life in the last seven years. The burn from the tug of the rope in my hand and the weight that bears down on my shoulders has caused me often to question whether I want to carry this for the Lord. And then amid this weighty moment, maybe you ask someone to carry it with you and you experience not just the weight of the burden but the disappointment and rejection from those you have asked to carry it with you. Or maybe there are people who once carried it with you, but no longer are willing.

Nehemiah understood this combo of weighty discouragement and the disappointment and rejection from those he asked to help him carry these burdens.

Nehemiah 3:5 says, "But their nobles WOULD NOT put their shoulders to the work of their Lord."

Sometimes the Lord allows us to struggle and feel as though the weight of the burden will destroy us and then on top of that we have "nobles" who refuse to burden themselves with us for the Lord. I don't know where you might be in the cycle of your burden and discouragement right now, but I want to remind you of what Nehemiah told his people.

"And I said to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people, tThe work is GREAT and widely spread out, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. Rally to us wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet. Our God will fight for us!" (Nehemiah 4:19). 

Then Nehemiah prayed this prayer: "Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people. (Your people, God)" (Nehemiah 5:19).

Look at what happens.

"So the wall was finished ...And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God" (Nehemiah 6:15). 

I love these confident words of Nehemiah and I invite you to pray this too...

"O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give success to your servant TODAY and grant him mercy in the sight of this man! At the time, I was cupbearer to the king. And the king granted me what I asked, for the gracious hand of my God was upon me.  The God of heaven is the one who will give us success" (Nehemiah 1:11).

Whatever God has asked you to carry for Him, say "yes" again to Him today.

"Forty years you (God) sustained them in the wilderness so that they lacked nothing; their clothes did not wear out, and their feet did not swell" (Nehemiah 9:21).

The burden the Lord has asked you to carry won't kill you, but quitting on God just may. Oh, you will probably keep breathing and your heart beating, but your calling will be gone, and your purpose will be mute, and your life will be massively unfulfilled as it fades into the grey matter of nonexistent existence while still breathing. Don't let go of what God has asked you to carry. Hebrews says it best:

"So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak (praying) knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but (by your example) become strong" (Hebrews 12:12-15).

Can I give you a word of encouragement? Say yes to whatever God is asking you to carry and watch Him increase the strength of your resources. Pray Ezra's prayer:

"For He (God) is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!" (Ezra 3:11). 

When you are frightened, burdened, terrified, consumed with worry, weary to the point of quitting, pray this and watch God work through you, around you, and yes, for you.