The Weight of the World
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” —Psalm 46:10, NIV.
Sometimes we feel as though the weight of the world rests on our shoulders. This expression comes from Greek mythology, which said that Zeus punished Atlas by forcing him to carry the world on his shoulders forever. It is also said that Atlas tricked Hercules into carrying the weight, but Hercules returned the favour and Atlas ended up right back where he started.
When we feel that everything depends on us (ergo: the weight of the world resting on our shoulders) it’s time to step out from under the burden. Will it drop to the floor and break into a million pieces as, supposedly, the world would have if Atlas had just dropped it?
Instead of having to clean up the mess and sweep up the broken pieces we might find something quite surprising. Some bits might fall to the ground of our lives, but the important stuff, the “God” stuff will be just fine. You know why? The things in our world that were meant to be are not held up by us. Their weight is carried by the One who said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28, 30). Most of these verses are a reference to the weight of sin which Jesus removes when we come to him for forgiveness, but the last phrase is critical to our thinking right now.
When we belong to Jesus, He assumes responsibility for our lives. He carries the burden of what He assigns to our lives. When we feel overwhelmed it’s because we have assumed a responsibility that isn’t ours. We’ve lost our peace, our trust, our joy and have come to believe the lie that everything depends on us. When we stop believing the lie we can take a step away from that “world” we are carrying and discover that Someone else is actually holding it up. A few pieces may fall—the things in our lives that God never meant for us to carry—but the “God” things stay in place.
We can take a step back, take a deep breath, and be still. We can know that God is holding up His end—and ours. His honour is at stake, His name, His glory, and He will not allow what brings Him glory to crash and burn.