Revised and re-posted from a previous blog entry, the Verse of the Day for April 3, 2017 comes from the Hebrews 12:12 in the New Living Translation:
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
For a more comprehensive view, take a look at the first three verses of Chapter 12:
Hebrews 12:1-3 (NLT):
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.
In thinking on this particular passage, my mind recalls a backpacking experience that occurred at TFI (Total Fitness Institute) in California back in December, 1975. During this outdoor wilderness adventure I was assigned to a platoon of believers, and we portioned out our food supply for the week among the group. I volunteered to carry the food for the last day, which meant that my load stayed the same while the load that everyone else carried got lighter.
On this particular day, we were told that we would hike for a mile and then take a break and rest for a while. After a considerable amount of time, I was certain that we had hiked more than a mile, but we continued. When I realized that I was carrying the food for the last day and that everyone else’s load was lighter than mine, I became agitated and began to complain in my mind that “This is just not fair. . .” During this time of frustration and agitation as I struggled under my heavy load, I thought of the Lord Jesus Christ and all that he gladly bore on my behalf. As I took my mind off myself and turned my thoughts toward the Lord, the distress and exasperation seemed to fade, and we arrive at our destination in a short time. That experience was the inspiration for this poem:
The Burden Bearer
Glory, Glory, Hallelujah,
When I lay my burden down.
I stumbled up the rugged road;
I almost fell beneath the load
And spurned the pain inside my head,
Recalling words of one who said
“Come unto me, and I will give you rest.”
The yoke I bear cannot compare
With all he took upon Himself:
All sins, disease, and guilt, despair
That I could not forebear myself.
His burden was not made of wood,
His cross beyond all words can name.
Have I resisted unto blood?
Could I for joy endure such shame?
From a glimpse into his face
I’m strengthened by a second wind;
My mind’s renewed to keep the pace
The load is lightened by my friend.
I feel better, so much better
since I laid my burden down.
The Verse of the Day also brought to mind this song: “Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus” offered by Michael W. Smith:
My experience at the Total Fitness Institute also inspired “The Burden Bearer.” The epigraph or short intro to the poem as well as the closing stanza are lyrics from an old gospel song that I recall my childhood days, recorded here by Pops Staples and the Staple Singers.
When we “turn our eyes upon Jesus,” we will see that he, indeed, is our “Burden Bearer.”