When trusting God looks like a burden

In the play, “The Last Sin Eater,” there is a scene where I am arguing with my wife. Just as an aside, you know that takes a lot of acting ability. As another aside, there are three more shows left. This afternoon at 2 p.m., tonight at 7, and Sunday night at 7. Come to the Paramount Theater and see “The Last Sin Eater.” Anyway, my character in the play is arguing about this preacher who has shown up in our highlands in the 1850s, telling everybody that they need to be saved. I am offended by that because I believe in the traditions of the village and the men who have held them. We have a way of being saved, passed down from one generation to the next, and it has nothing to do with Jesus. It has to do with a ritual and a man. My hope is that this man will show up at my funeral, as he has done for scores of others, and “eat my sin” so that I can rest in peace. I say something that reveals the heart of the unbeliever who thinks he’s saved but does not believe the Gospel: “You believe in God, Fia, same as I do. We don’t need anybody saving us. And we sure don’t need anyone laying more burdens on our backs. We got more than enough already.” A man whose hope is in anything but God will see trusting God as a burden. He will see anyone telling him about God as bringing a burden. He will resent it because he thinks, “I’m OK. I have a way to be accepted by God into heaven.” His “way” may be that he is counting on the ridiculous notion that if he does more good than bad in his life, God will be obligated to let him in. It reminds me of the man who prayed, “Lord, I thank you that I have not sinned at all today. I haven’t been jealous, or angry. I haven’t been resentful or selfish. But I am about to open my eyes and get out of bed … ”
I thought about this puzzle, a man who says he believes in God but does not want anyone telling him what God says about salvation, even to say that God’s way would be a burden on his back. Then I thought about some men I know who went skydiving last week. They jumped out of the plane harnessed to their tandem instructors. Do you think they saw the man strapped to their backs as a burden? No, he was their only hope. He was their ticket home. He was the one who controlled their lives for those six minutes. Freefalling at 120 mph with a trained skydiver on your back is still something that incites fear, I am sure. But there is great hope in the knowledge that you have someone with you who knows what to do to save your life. And here’s the thing. The life of that person who jumps out of the airplane is dependent on how he has responded to the urging of his tandem instructor to be connected. The tandem instructor really does everything; all the student has to do is allow himself to be harnessed to the instructor. That’s why what God has asked us to do is not a burden. Neither does it require strength from us.
If trusting God looks like a burden, go back and read the New Testament again. Step into the harness with the Lord Jesus who “died, and rose, and lives again.”