The story of Brian Hesse is one of my all-time favorites. One account of it is as follows:
Brian Hesse had more than his share of luck in July (1981), and most of it was bad. When his apartment in Provo, Utah became flooded from a broken pipe in the upstairs apartment, the manager told him to go out and rent a water vacuum. That’s when he discovered his car had a flat tire. He changed it, then went inside again to phone a friend for help. The electric shock he got from the phone so startled him that he inadvertently ripped the instrument off the wall. Before he could leave the apartment a second time, a neighbor had to kick down the apartment door because water damage had jammed it tight.
While all of this was going on, someone stole his car. But it was almost out of gas. He found it a few blocks away but had to push it to the gas station, where he filled up the tank. That evening Hesse attended a military ceremony at Brigham Young University. He injured himself severely when he somehow sat down on his bayonet, which had been tossed onto the front seat of his car. Doctors were able to stitch up the wound, but no one was able to resuscitate four of Hesse’s canaries that were crushed to death by falling plaster in his apartment. After Hesse slipped on the wet carpet and badly injured his tailbone, he said he began to wonder “If God wanted me dead, but just kept missing.”
If the saying, “into every life a little rain must fall” is true, then most of us would agree that Hesse was experiencing a deluge.
Yet, for the believer in Christ, there is hope in these trials, as the Psalmist has noted:
“Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” (Ps. 55:22; NASB).
Notice that the writer presumes that there will be burdens in life. The expectation is that there will be problems, and even believing in Christ does not alleviate one from that expectation, as Christ Himself said, “in the world you have tribulation” (Jn. 16:33). Trials will come and we should not be hopeful that we can escape them.
Jesus and the psalmist do not say to pray that you will not have trials. But there is something else we can do with those burdens — “cast them on the Lord.” The idea is that we throw them on the Lord — we let Him carry the burden.
The obvious question is, “what does it mean to cast our burden on God?” That’s the kind of language that Christians use that too often is meaningless. Essentially, this has the idea of asking and praying and then not being anxious. The believer goes to the One who is his father and seeks help and then does not worry about the outcome, because he believes the promise at the end of the verse — God “will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”
As Spurgeon said about this phrase,
He may move like the boughs of a tree in the tempest, but he shall never be moved like a tree torn up by the roots. He stands firm who stands in God. Many would destroy the saints, but God has not suffered it, and never will. Like pillars, the godly stand immoveable, to the glory of the Great Architect.
Too often the believer prays and then experiences anxiety and worry. So he prays again. Then he is anxious still again, so he prays again. And he is anxious once more, so he prays once more. And again. And again. These are not prayers of faith and trust. These are prayers of doubt, disbelief, and anxiousness (and should therefore be confessed as the sins of doubt, disbelief, and anxiousness).
Having genuinely prayed, the believer is to rest in confidence in God who provides. We can entrust our needs and burdens to the One who has promised and is faithful. He really will not let the righteous be shaken and torn from our roots in Him.