“…Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength”. Nehemiah 8:10
One weekend, our family attended a church camp. During one of the morning sessions the speaker handed out a sheet of paper to everyone on which we were to write down our burdens. In the last session of the day, we were to take these sheets of paper and put them into a bowl. They would later be burned in a fire, symbolic of releasing our burdens to Jesus.
In Matthew 11:28 Jesus urges us to: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
I wrote down my burdens, folded the paper and put it in my notebook, which I then left on a table. At the end of the last session, people started placing their papers into the bowl. My notebook was not where I had left it and I frantically searched for ‘my burdens’.
“What are you looking for?” a friend whispered.
“I’ll help you look”, she offered.
We scrambled around looking for my lost burdens.
All of a sudden, we started to giggle uncontrollably. Our laughter was magnified because everyone around us was so solemn and quiet.
Here we were, desperately trying to find my lost burdens so I could take them up again only to lay them down again before God.
As our laughter continued, it struck me how gracious our God is. As I had written my burdens down, He had, in that very moment, taken them and they were effectively lost forever. He does this for each one of us.
Also, the laying down of our burdens need not always be serious and solemn. It can also be joyous and freeing.
Galatians 5:1 explains: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again.”
Almighty and merciful God, we thank you for the gift of laughter. You created us with a huge capacity for joy and we pray that in your mercy we will re-discover laughter and joy in our daily lives. Thank you for carrying our burdens and setting us free. Amen.