How does one “give their burdens to the Lord”? My husband had a nervous breakdown in April and lost his job in July due to behavior resulting from the severe depression that lead up to the breakdown. He has not worked since April and we have not received income since July. We have 5 children ranging in age from 4 to 15. As you might guess this had made for a very stressful summer. My husband has been trying to heal while at the same time seeking employment only to be turned down over and over again due to the information potential employers receive from his previous employer. My husband’s depression is worsening…I am becoming depressed…and I can see this all effecting my children. I know we have been blessed!! I see the hand of God in the caring actions of friends, in the anonymous donations of money, in the assistance of the Church, in the message of faith in my seminary lessons, in the sheer fact that my husband is still with us. But none of that changes the fact that we need a job to survive and that is a righteous desire that we are not receiving. How can I or my husband “turn this burden over to the Lord”? How is it possible to do that when LIFE is a daily reminder of our need?? Or maybe a better question is HOW do you even do that…Give your burdens to the Lord?? I was raised in the church, my husband is in the Bishopric and I am a seminary teacher, I attend my meetings, magnify my callings, fast and pray often, attend the temple monthly and I see the resulting blessings…but I still feel so “burdened” by our situation. Both my husband and I are physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. It is becoming difficult to see any light at the end of this tunnel. Our faith is more easily shaken the longer this trial lasts and that scares me. How can I find peace in this situation?? How can my burden be lightened?? How can I help to lighten my husband’s burden?
Among those who love the Lord and who keep His commandments I think that it is well to remember that there are no accidents. There is no doubt whatsoever that the Lord loves you and your family deeply, and He knows every feeling of your heart. Further, there is an eternal purpose to all that happens to us in this life. The prophet Joseph Smith, in a similar quandary, cried out—
O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place? How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries? Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppressions, before thine heart shall be softened toward them, and thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them? O Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven, earth, and seas, and of all things that in them are, and who controllest and subjectest the devil, and the dark and benighted dominion of Sheol–stretch forth thy hand; let thine eye pierce; let thy pavilion be taken up; let thy hiding place no longer be covered; let thine ear be inclined; let thine heart be softened, and thy bowels moved with compassion toward us (D&C 121:1-4).
And the Lord’s answer was—
My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes. Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands. Thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job. And they who do charge thee with transgression, their hope shall be blasted, and their prospects shall melt away as the hoar frost melteth before the burning rays of the rising sun; And also that God hath set his hand and seal to change the times and seasons, and to blind their minds, that they may not understand his marvelous workings; that he may prove them also and take them in their own craftiness (D&C 121:7-12).
The scriptures cite the examples of many of the Lord’s people who were called upon to suffer greatly, but enduring through the suffering period they were so greatly blessed by the Lord that the gains outweighed the losses many times over. Think of Paul—
Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness (2 Cor 11:24-27).
Think of Abraham, who led his son of promise toward the sacrifice of his life. Yet all these experiences, although painful in the extreme, resulted in great blessings because the sufferers gave their burdens to the Lord. In other words, they trusted that the Lord would take care of them in His own time and in His own way. Although they couldn’t see beyond the darkness of the moment, they were not discouraged because of their suffering. Paul even glories in his suffering because he knew that he was fulfilling the will of the Lord. So giving your burdens to the Lord means to endure them with faith and confidence. Things may get worse before they get better. All you need to do is to keep trying the avenues that are open to you, and although all the ways seem to be blocked at the time, anticipate with confidence (faith) that will change. Always remember that to get from one mountain peak to a higher one, you must go through a valley.
Now for some specific practicalities. Your husband is in the bishopric, so the bishop knows well your difficulties. The time may come when you will be completely dependent on the Church Welfare Program. You know the procedure— Let the Lord’s system help you. As a full tithe payer the welfare system is your insurance program. Use it!!. I know what I am talking about because I have had the opportunity to use the system myself. The bishop invited us to repair a burnt-out tool shed for the help that we received, and it was an honor to repair that shed in exchange for food for our family for a month. So my only suggestion is to maintain the faith that things will improve, and your family will become self sufficient again. Follow the counsel of your bishop, immerse yourselves enthusiastically in the Welfare Program, if it comes to that. Allow others to reap the blessings of the Lord by coming to your aid. You might even express gratitude to the Lord for the difficulties that you are now going through, for they are designed for your blessing and benefit to help you to grow in the gospel.