Every day I receive a devotional in my emailbox called Daily Strength for Daily Needs. I don’t always read it but yesterday I did and there was a quote from Hannah Whitall Smith’s The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, which I read many years ago while still in college. This particular quote was so helpful that I found the chapter from Mrs. Smith’s book and read the whole chapter.
[The Higher Christian Life or the “hidden life”] is simply letting the Lord carry our burdens and manage our affairs for us, instead of trying to do it ourselves.
How simple it seems to let the Lord carry our burdens but how difficult it is to do it day by day, minute by minute.
The greatest burden we have to carry in life is self. The most difficult thing we have to manage is self. Our own daily living, our frames and feelings, our especial weaknesses and temptations, and our peculiar temperaments, our inward affairs of every kind, these are the things that perplex and worry us more than anything else, and that bring us oftenest into bondage and darkness. In laying off your burdens, therefore, the first one you must get rid of is yourself. You must hand yourself and all your inward experiences, your temptations, your temperament, your frames and feelings, all over into the care and keeping of your God, and leave them there. He made you, and therefore He understands you and knows how to manage you, and you must trust Him to do it. Say to Him, “Here, Lord, I abandon myself to Thee. I have tried in every way I could think of to manage myself, and to make myself what I know I ought to be, but have always failed. Now I give it up to Thee. Do thou take entire possession of me. Work in me all the good pleasure of Thy will. Mould and fashion me into such a vessel as seemeth good to Thee. I leave myself in Thy hands, and I believe Thou wilt, according to Thy promise, make me into a vessel unto Thine honor,‘sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.’* ” And here you must rest, trusting yourself thus to Him continually and absolutely.
This was a long quote but there was no way to shorten it without losing some of it’s impact. It is so much easier to lay down our circumstances, our family, our trials, and the other external things but oh how hard it is to lay down ourselves and our sins, failings, temptations, fears, resentments, sorrows, and pains. Because they are hidden within us, they are easy to hide from others and so on the outside we seem to be living that hidden life in Christ whereas in reality we cling to ourselves and our petty anger and our pet sins. Giving up everything to Christ is difficult but the joy and release in those moments when we do let go of everything for Him are inexpressible!
Christians always commit the keeping of their souls for eternity to the Lord, because they know, without a shadow of a doubt, that they cannot keep these themselves. But the things of this present life they take into their own keeping, and try to carry on their own shoulders, with the perhaps unconfessed feeling that it is a great deal to ask of the Lord to carry them, and that they cannot think of asking Him to carry their burdens too.
Most people,” she continued, “take their burdens to Him, but they bring them away with them again, and are just as worried and unhappy as ever. But I take mine, and I leave them with Him, and come away and forget them. And if the worry comes back, I take it to Him again; I do this over and over, until at last I just forget that I have any worries, and am at perfect rest.
Here is a secret to giving these things up to Him–do it again and again and again. Sometimes we will have to give them up each and every moment of the day as we realize that we have snatched them back again.
The circumstances of her life she could not alter, but she took them to the Lord, and handed them over into His management; and then she believed that He took it, and she left all the responsibility and the worry and anxiety with Him. As often as the anxieties returned she took them back; and the result was that, although the circumstances remained unchanged, her soul was kept in perfect peace in the midst of them. And the secret she found so effectual in her outward affairs, she found to be still more effectual in her inward ones, which were in truth even more utterly unmanageable. She abandoned her whole self to the Lord, with all that she was and all that she had; and, believing that He took that which she had committed to Him, she ceased to fret and worry, and her life became all sunshine in the gladness of belonging to Him.
This was the original excerpt I read yesterday. Oh, how I want my life to become “all sunshine in the gladness of belonging to Him.”
The Scripture upon which this devotional was based was this:
Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.–PS. lv. 22.
To that I will add the familiar but comforting verse from 1 Peter:
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7
May we humbly cast our cares on the Lord today and every day so that we may live a life of sunshine and gladness because of His great love and care for us.