Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. (Prov 3:5-8)
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. (Prov 18:10)
You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. (1 Cor 6:19b-20a).
I recently re-watched the movie Labyrinth. It’s a great movie about growing up. Plus, it stars David Bowie as the villain, the Goblin King. And it has a lot of Muppets in it, both of which are always fun.
One of the images from the movie that has always stuck with me is an old woman carrying a bunch of junk on her back. This woman, called the Junk Lady, serves as a distraction to the main character, Sarah, who is trying to get her younger brother back from the Goblin King.
Sarah is tired and weak from her journey. And the Junk Lady distracts her by offering her everything else she values—Sarah’s own toys, trinkets, and random junk that is dear to her—to get Sarah to forget about saving her brother.
The Junk Lady is, in a sense, trying to make Sarah just like her. The Junk Lady carries everything that is precious to her on her back. She’s stooped over from trying to carry the weight of everything she cares about. And she’s handing more and more junk to Sarah, loading her down with the things she cares about.
This, I feel, is a perfect image of us when we don’t trust God with the things that are valuable to us. We try to carry them all. But instead, we get stooped over, bent and twisted under the weight of their burden.
It’s a natural thing to do: you carry these burdens because they’re important to you. And if you don’t carry them, who will?
There are two ways of looking at this. First consider: where are the things you value safest? Are they safest with you, who are carrying so much that something is going to fall and break sometime? Or are they safest with God, who can do anything and everything? My vote is on God. You can trust God with anything, especially the things that matter to you, because God is a lot more capable of taking care of them than you are.
Second, you have to recognize that, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians, you are not your own. If you are a Christian, you have been bought by God through Christ. You no longer belong to yourself; you belong to God.
This is something I think Christians sometimes forget. We say things like, “I don’t want,” or, if we’re being spiritual and need an excuse, “I’m not gifted for that.” Sometimes we will even let our own desires trump the word of God in the Bible. How often have you heard, to counter a biblical position, “I won’t believe in a God who would…”? The latter is horrifying: this person is willing to abandon what God has to say about himself or herself because of his or her own preferences. But I digress.
Since we don’t belong to ourselves but to God, this means that not only does he own our will—our desires, our wants, even our needs—but also our burdens.
The things you care for, the things that burden you, don’t belong to you; they belong to God. So let him have them.
This is the ultimate freedom. We need to have no burdens because they aren’t ours in the first place. Rather, we can trust God to care for his own—his things and his people.
Don’t be the Junk Lady. Don’t carry around your cares but rather give them to God because he cares for you (1 Pet 5:7). Don’t let them wear you down, bend and twist you. Rather, let this from Ps 16:5-11 be true for you:
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.