Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). Jesus knows that we are carrying heavy burdens. In order to rest, we must come to Jesus with our heavy burdens. And we must lay down our heavy burdens before Jesus. We can rest when we put our heavy burden on Jesus. The secret of rest is in laying things down.
In order to lay our heavy burdens down on Jesus, we must first know what the heavy burdens are. Sometimes we live a difficult life being pressed down by something. Somehow we feel uneasy, or hard, and sometimes we live in fear. The problem is that we do not know what makes us struggle even though things feel so difficult. So we must pray. We must pray to God to help us realize what makes it difficult. When we pray before God, God allows us to realize what kind of heavy burdens are pressing us down.
It is grace to realize what our heavy burden is. Understanding is an experience that opens the eyes of our heart. We see precious things with our heart. Jesus says that we can turn back when we understand, and be healed when we understand (Mt 13: 13-15). When God opens the eyes of our hearts, we realize what our heavy burdens are and then we are able to lay them down to Jesus.
The heavy burden to Abraham was Isaac. Isaac was a gift from God to him. He was a covenant child. Isaac was the son who gave laughter to Abraham in his old age. The name Isaac means “laughter”. Isaac, like his name, gave laughter to Abraham. So Abraham loved him. He cherished him. However, he loved him so much that the love turned into obsession. Abraham, who had always lived looking upon God, was beginning to look to Isaac. He was always looking at Isaac with constant worry. In no time Isaac became an idol in his life. An idol is a barrier between God and us. If there is anything you love, obsess over, or rely on more than God, that is an idol.
God told Abraham to go up to Mount Moriah with his beloved son, Isaac, to offer him as a burnt offering (Gen. 22: 2). It was God’s decision for the sake of Abraham. It was God’s choice to truly free him. Abraham’s offering of Isaac was not easy. Nevertheless he trusted God and gave Isaac to the altar of burnt offering. He was able to offer Isaac to God because he first laid Isaac out of his hand. When there is a “laying down”, there is “letting go”.
“Letting go” is acknowledging the divine right of God. When we acknowledge that everything is given to us from God, we can give our precious things to God. Abraham was able to give Isaac to God because he knew and trusted God. His “letting go” was “surrendering." He let go of his most precious son to God. “Letting go” and “surrendering” are never about despair. Rather, “letting go” means surrendering to a God who is truly trustworthy. Abraham experienced freedom at the moment of entrusting Isaac to God. He experienced rest. God is able to raise Isaac better than Abraham cares for him. The principle is simple. “He who is entrusted to will be responsible.” While Abraham was in charge of Isaac, he had to take all responsibility for Isaac. On the other hand, when Abraham entrusted Isaac to God, God took all responsibility for Isaac on behalf of Abraham.
Our journey of faith is from “laying down” to “letting go." It is also from “letting go” to “surrendering”. When Abraham surrendered Isaac to God, God blessed his empty hands with great blessings. The great blessings were about Isaac and his descendants. His father’s devotion became a great blessing to the child. Please do not live carrying your heavy burden alone. God wants to bear our heavy burdens every day. “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” (Ps. 68:19). Every morning, leave the heaven burdens to God. Whatever is entrusted to God is the safest. Leave your heavy burdens to God and live your best in your daily given work. I would like to express my sincere thanks to you who listened and encouraged me about the words of resting for 21 weeks. Blessings.
Reverend Joshua Choon-Min Kang is the senior pastor of New Life Vision Church, located in Los Angeles. This is one of the weekly letters he writes to his congregation. For the original, visit www.nlvc.org.