The Sorrows of Care
By John Philip
The burden of care is the common lot of all. Every one has to carry his knapsack of care. We see many a care-worn countenance; and many an anxious heart beats within the bosom — even when the face may wear a smile. As there are insects that prey upon trees and shrubs, and eat out the pith and scoop out the heart — while the rind or bark is left — so there are heart-eating cares that dry up the happiness, and suck out the sweetness of life, while yet the outward appearance remains much the same. And so swarming cares can penetrate deeper into the heart, and lacerate it worse than heavier crosses.
More perhaps than the sterner calamities of life, and especially in this fast-driving age — are the daily fretting, carking, and corroding cares. The little vexations and worries of household management and business affairs — are apt to prey upon the mind, and chafe the temper, and sour the spirit, and wear out the patience. Singly or by themselves — their influence would be trifling; but recurring so often and multiplying so fast — they form a considerable part of the burdens of life.
And as a tree which has been scooped out in the stem, is thereby rendered less able to stand the fury of the gale — so by these heart-pecking cares (if no antidote is found for them) — our strength is weakened, and we are less able to bear the strain, or sustain the heavier burdens of life.
It is only by habitual prayer that we get inward strength to balance outward and all other troubles. If we suspend the exercise of prayer, or of that faith which is the very soul of prayer, and thereby cut off our supplies from above — we shall be ready to sink under our burdens, and be submerged in the depths!
But how slow we are to trust! We are too often like one learning to swim, who would gladly keep touching the ground with his feet, and fears to trust himself on the buoyant waters — lest he should sink at once. So we would like to feel some good bottom underneath, to have some tangible or sensible ground of comfort — and are reluctant to throw ourselves upon God's bare promise. But we can never know the effectual support He gives — unless and until we let go our hold of everything else, and venture our souls solely and wholly upon His sure word of promise. We must break down the bridge of self-will — and fall back on Him alone. So long as we quarrel with His will, and wrangle to get our own way — we must remain strangers to peace.
The strength renewed is best displayed in the quiet walk and steady progress of the Christian life. And even the very cares that burden and beset us — may prove a blessing in the way of making us more wary and watchful in choosing our steps, and in rendering our foothold firmer, as there is far less risk of sliding on a rough road, than on a smooth one.