Winter has come with her frosty mornings, translucent breath of heaven on the morning window panes, and burdock lifting barbed hands toward grey sky. Autumn is the season of brevity here, while winter tends to hang low, like the earth needed this way-too-long nap after the lavishness of the fruitful seasons. Sometimes, this season of sleep, cold, and darkness starts to leave us all feeling just a little too weary and burdened.
I gaze long into the expectations of what will come, and nothing inside me embraces the thought of long nights inside the house and bitter, cold days with white wind whipping across the barren boards of the deck outside.
As I prepare my heart to walk through the austerity of a season that feels like a labored walk up a hill that never ends, I’m reminded of burdens our little family faced in winters past.
Our past few winters have been difficult. They have been marked by struggles that often felt beyond our strength. They have been marked by blustery afternoons spent over the freshly displaced earth of gravesites, long bouts with illness that nearly sent us all over the edge, and fear about what might happen if the doctor’s prognoses turned out to be true. They have felt weary and burdened in a dozen different ways.
You might be carrying your own sort of burdens this winter — burdens that feel just a little too heavy for you to reasonably lift to the throne of the God you’re beginning to doubt.
What the Bible Says About Being Weary and Burdened
I’m looking for Bible verses about heavy burdens when I stumble into the words of truth:
“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many” (2 Corinthians 1:8-11 ESV).
Paul’s words to the Corinthian church resonate with my soul, and from them, I glean a few truths for the days when the burdens linger low and heavy. Regardless of what obstacles you face today, may these words offer hope and insight:
1. Your weary and burdened seasons are opportunities to teach you to rely on God instead of yourself
I am a woman who thrives on my sense of self-reliance. I like to fix things, help people, and pull myself up by my bootstraps. I tend to create my own agenda and do all I can to make it happen.
But what happens when our best-laid plans fall apart? These are the moments when our faith is deepened as we learn to rely on God to help us in his strength, not our own.
Verse 9 of our passage above reminds us that our heavy burdens lead us to “rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” What an encouragement we find in these last five words. The same power that raised Christ from the dark grave is alive and well in you. The same power that raised Christ is available to deliver you today, if only you will call upon the name of Jesus and ask.
2. Your weariness is an opportunity for God to show you His deliverance
Verse 10 offers a simple, yet poignant truth: “He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us.” We can trust that God is ready and willing to deliver us from our burdens when we look to the past and see how he carried us through difficult times. Remembering how he delivered us in the past gives us hope that he will show up again.
If you are struggling as you stare into a new season, pause to list the times God carried you through past seasons. Draw strength from your own testimony. Let the Lord encourage you through the undeniable truth of your own story.
3. This burden is an opportunity for your testimony to strengthen
When we remember the ways He has delivered us in the past, we build ourselves up to trust in Him to carry us through our current struggles as well. Ultimately, we are building a testimony that speaks of His faithfulness throughout the different struggles in our lives. We find hope by trusting that just as He delivered us in the past, He will deliver us again: “On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again” (verse 10).
4. Your weary and burdened seasons are an opportunity to join with others in prayer
I have been deeply blessed by a group of women with whom I weekly pray, mostly via text message from afar. We carry one another’s burdens and rejoice as we watch God answer prayer. As we pray together, there is a synergistic movement in which our heaviest burdens are lifted to God through our combined strength.
It has been a difficult season for this group. There have been losses that felt too much to bear and needs that leave me tear-filled from afar, as I lift these women before the throne of God. We are reminded weekly of the brokenness of the world in which we live. However, even in the lowest valleys, we see God show up. Doctors tell us they don’t know how to account for miraculous healing, hearts are restored, and rain falls down on literal wildfires.
5. This burden is an opportunity for God to receive praise and glory
Verse 11 concludes by summarizing what happens when we lift our burdens to God together in prayer: “many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” My mind drifts to the miraculous healings and rain falling over scorched ground as I read these words. Had we not prayed, we might not have given glory to God for the works of His hand, but when we do pray as one, we watch for His answers and bend low in reverence as we watch Him show up. God receives praise and glory!
As we plunge deeper into our winter season here, my hope is that the burdens will be lighter than the past few winters; however, even if they are just as heavy, we know the One who can use any burden for good.
This is an updated edited of a post originally published on staceypardoe.com.
Featured Image by Carli Jeen