For many people, this year can best be summed up as an ongoing experience of burdens and cares. But this experience is not new to this year. This is true for us all of the time. We are weighed down with burdens and cares because we are sinners living in a sinful world. The old Adam in our neighbors and the old Adam in us is an expert at stirring up problems. In fact, the more we're engaged and interfacing with other people, the more often it seems we struggle to find any reason to be happy about our life and the state of the world.
But even though the Lord doesn't strive to make us happy, he does want to see us satisfied with all that he provides for our bodies and life. Once we are turned toward our Lord God in this way, we only recognize through faith that he provides all we need for this life. He also reveals what he provides for life eternal. For Christians, our daily bread includes the revelation that the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, is our savior. He comes to salve all our infirmities. He has overcome them all in his death and resurrection, which frees us in the present to cast our burdens and cares onto him because he cares for us.
Through his work for us, we trust in his mercy. Our heart rejoices in his salvation. We sing to the Lord because he deals so richly and abundantly with us. When we are turned toward the Lord in faith, we don't worry about our burdens and cares because we have all we need in, with, and through Savior Jesus.
At the same time, that means Satan and the old Adam will attack and afflict us because we have turned our backs to them and put our burdens and cares on Jesus. Satan and the old Adam don't want Jesus to bear our crosses for us because that means we can't claim that we've done anything to merit God's mercy and salvation. Instead of allowing Satan and the old Adam to weigh us down with sadness and feelings of depression that "this is the worst it's ever been," we focus our attention on Jesus' cross. Golgotha was truly, "the worst it's ever been" since, to redeem us from Satan and sin, it cost God his life. All the afflictions and misfortunes intended to be carried by us are instead driven into Jesus' hands and feet.
Satan and the old Adam don't want Jesus to bear our crosses for us because that means we can't claim that we've done anything to merit God's mercy and salvation.
As Christians, we will be tempted by our enemies to abandon Jesus, to turn away from him, and lose hope that there's ever going to be any relief from our burdens and cares. But it is amid our burdens and cares that Jesus is most God, most savior for us. He endured the pain and misery of the cross for us so that in his death and resurrection, he could rescue us from the eternal divide between God and humanity caused by sin.
When we are tempted and weighed down by our sin and the sin of others, Jesus is true to his promise: "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me" (Ps 50:15).
Satan and the old Adam will always attempt to turn our attention back to ourselves and the world. Then, all we see are burdens and cares in abundance. But, through faith in Christ, we turn our backs to this half-truth and instead celebrate the fact that Jesus carries our burdens and cares. It isn't any of us that the prophet proclaims as "the man of sorrows, well acquainted with grief."
We walk in this world of tears and sorrow, graciously comforted and strengthened by God's word and gifts of salvation. Each day we walk in God's promise, in the Holy Spirit, who brings us joy and peace so that we may sing to the Lord, "When the Lord deals bountifully with me, I need nothing more" (Ps 13:6).