The hymn "Cast Thy Burden upon the Lord" has a wonderful message for each of us. It is a hymn that gives encouragement and promise. It is one of a handful of hymns that the music is taken from a famous classical composer; in this case Felix Mendelssohn. And it one of only a select few hymns in our hymn book with one verse, so it should be easy to memorize. :)

Cast thy burden upon the Lord,
And he shall sustain thee.
He never will suffer the righteous to fall.
He is at thy right hand.
Thy mercy, Lord, is great
And far above the heav’ns.
Let none be made ashamed
That wait upon thee.

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.

My mind is drawn to one of my favorite outdoor activities; fly fishing. It is similar but different from bait casting or open face reel fishing. With fly fishing, the fish attractor at the end is composed of feathers, fur, and typically weighs less than an eighth of an ounce. The fly is cast using the thicker fly line and the long rod. In comparison, on a bait casting or other setup, the lure, bait on the end is much more heavier. The monofilament line is very thin and the rod is typically shorter than a fly rod. The amount of exertion to propel the fly or lure out in the water is totally up to the fisherman. On a fly rod, the back and forth motion of the line while spooling out more and more line is what propels the fly. On a bait casting setup, the weight of the lure is what propels. If the fisherman wants to get the lure out further, more forceful casting is required. 

So why the fishing lesson? When I think of casting burdens, I think of them as heavy lures. We strive to exert ourselves to make our burdens go far away from us. Another way to think about it is when we moved our belongings from Pennsylvania to Utah, we had lots of books. We carefully boxed each book until there was no more room and then we sealed the box. But the real test came when we tried to lift that box. It was a great burden to carry that box any distance, and the relief that came when we could put the box down. We too often collect sins, thinking that it's okay - we can handle that. But as more and more unrepented sins come our way, our souls get heavy. It becomes a burden that we unnecessarily carry through our lives.

The invitation of casting our burdens upon the Lord means to me we recognize the burdens we carry. We recognize the power of the Atonement in our lives.. And we want relief from those burdens. If we follow through with the repentance process, those burdens will literally be lifted from our lives. And sometimes, the process may seem excruciating and long, we have the promise that we will be sustained. Our Saviour is our biggest coach for making our lives as burden-free in this life. Is is He who told His Father, "Send Me and the glory be Thine". It is He who suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane for us. And it is He who is the advocate with the Father.

He never will suffer the righteous to fall

This might seem like it is a false statement, but the more I begin to look beyond the here and now and try to focus on the eternal aspects, it is absolutely true. And this parallel might seem strange, but hear me out. When one places their money in the stock market, they can be at risk of one of three things: they can lose everything they invested, they can break even, or they can reap great earnings. Some may wish to pull everything out of their share to make sure they don't lose it all. Others invest in less risky or more secure stocks, but the dividends are not as good as the long-term risks. But the key is to let it ride. If one watches the market every day and sees the losses and gains, it can be scary. But if one looks past the daily, weekly, and monthly ups and downs and looks at the long-term activity, they will see that most of those ups and downs are just tiny blips. So it is with us. If we look at our trials each day, it can become very discouraging. When we do as The Lord asks, we have the promise that He hears our prayers. This does not mean instant answers, but for me, it has been subtle suggestions on his to improve my situations. When we focus our lives on the eternal and less on the temporal, we too, can look back at our trial histories and see that they are just little blips in the eternities. 

Let none be made ashamed that wait upon thee

The world as we know it is changing. People are becoming more and more complacent with spiritual things and justifying temporal for spiritual. Some are in favor of changing age-old laws that have been put in place by inspired leaders. Our Constitution, like a great rock is being chiseled piece by piece, bit by bit. All for temporal justifications. The Lord has been taken out of schools years ago. The sacred institution of marriage is crumbling right before our eyes. We, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been counseled to defend our religion, but in a kind manner. We are asked to keep civility in our conversation in these areas. We are being ridiculed, and called many names by those who oppose our belief. The Bible cannot be used to reason because they love to pick pieces and parts out of it (verses) and thereby justify that the Bible is outdated and does not need to be followed anymore. Therer are even those, member and non-member alike that is trying to sidestep the authority of our prophet and demand for ecclesiastical changes. Indeed, we live in perilous times, but all this has been foretold. We can read about it in the scriptures and hear it from our leaders. But are we listening? Are we ashamed of our gospel and beliefs? Are we trying to be good citizens by sidestepping those values and beliefs we have been taught from our parents?

We should never be ashamed of the gospel. We should never be ashamed to let others know we are LDS. We have the fullness of the gospel in our lives. We should be prepared to share that with others - but only when moved upon by the spirit. The Lord is, in my opinion more active trying to gather His children, preparing their hearts to hear the gospel. He is more active than Lucifer and his minion trying to destroy. I believe there is more integrity than deceit in this world. Yes, we hear more about the negative things in the world, country, and state. But there is also much good happening. Some people accuse me of putting on blinders and ignoring those "current events". Maybe I do have them on. I am aware of the current issues. I am very much aware of implications of current government and civic happenings. But I refuse to let it rule my life. I will always strive to look for the positive things in life, such as family, friends, and the gospel. I would invite all to strive to focus more on what is really important - what is pertinent to our salvation. And as we strive to live our lives in accordance to His will, he will make us His instruments for sharing the gospel. 

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