Saturday, October 19, 2013

Given Burdens Too Heavy To Bear



 
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” – James 1:2-4

There are days…and then there are THOSE days!  Those days when you are burdened with the pains of life beyond all you can bear.  In those darkest days we often hear the words, “God won’t put more on you than you can bear”, and we feel like failures, like we should not be overwhelmed.  But this is life, and this is NOT Heaven.  Yes, God does put more burdens on us than we can bear…alone, that is.
1 Corinthians 10:13 is often misquoted and confuses the point that we are to bear our cross daily.  It says No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.  But this verse talks about temptations to sin, not burdens of life.  God will put more on you than you can bear in life.

Do you believe that God is all powerful?  Do you believe that He has the power to right all wrongs, to put a hedge about His children to not let harm come their way, to provide for our needs, to keeps us from all physical and emotional harm?  Most will says they do believe that.  But somehow when trouble comes our way we want to take God out of the picture as if these things were not in His plans for us, as if He has fallen asleep at the helm of our life.  In all situations in our life, good and bad, God has either gives or allows those heavy burdens to come our way. 
Job is a case where God gave the burdens.  Pain is not always the product of punishment in the Christian life.  Job was a man that God called “a blameless and upright man”, yet it was God that brought Job to Satan’s mind when he came before Him.  Satan didn’t have Job in mind as his next great adventure.  God asked him, “Have you considered my servant Job?”  God wasn’t angry at Job.  There was nothing for Him to be angry about.  Job was blameless, and upright in all his ways.  But God picked Job out anyway.

And again, after Satan had taken all of Job’s oxen, donkeys, camels, servants, and killed his seven daughters and three sons, God says to Satan in Job 2:3, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.”  God lets Satan lose on Job’s life again, allowing him to make him sick even unto death, but not allowing him to take Job’s life.
David is a case of where the burdens were a product of sin and punishment.  David had lusted for Bathsheba, committed adultery with her, got her pregnant, killed her husband to hide his sins, and took her as his wife (2 Samuel 11)!  But sin always has consequences.  God sent the prophet Nathan to David to warn him that the son Bathsheba bore would die.  David pleaded with God, dressed in mourning clothes, crying out, praying and fasting.  But God would not rescind the punishment.  In 2 Samuel 12, we read:

“And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became ill. David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. So the elders of his house arose and went to him, to raise him up from the ground. But he would not, nor did he eat food with them.  Then on the seventh day it came to pass that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead. For they said, “Indeed, while the child was alive, we spoke to him, and he would not heed our voice. How can we tell him that the child is dead? He may do some harm!”
David endured every parent’s nightmare – the loss of a child.  It was a slow loss, seeing the child suffer for seven days.  David endured it as punishment for his own sins, and watched as they killed his son.  Was it a burden too big to bear?  Certainly so!  His own servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, fearing that he would commit suicide. 

Jesus Christ himself was given a huge burden to bear.  In Matthew 26:38-39, when He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, He told His disciples “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.”  As He prayed He told God the Father, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will. He was burdened beyond anything we can compare it to.  He knew what death on the cross would be like, and asked God to find another way.  But, we see what our response should be to these burdens when He completes His prayer saying “nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.
If there is any love in God at all, we can know that God loves His children.  He loves Jesus His own Son, Job, David, and even you and I.  And He loves us equally, because there is no partiality with God (Romans 2:11).  But what He needs from us is our love in return, and our obedience.  He desires a relationship built on trust, faith, and intimate fellowship.

Have you ever seen a wild horse?  They are beautiful creatures!  They run through the hills, manes and tails flying with the wind, and enjoying full freedom to do as they please and go where they please.  But it’s not all good to be a wild horse.  There are fights among the herd and the wounds they cause can end in death.  There’s hunger, thirst, and sickness.  There are attacks from wild animals.
As beautiful as a wild horse is, it cannot be used for anything.  For a horse to be useful, it has to be tamed.  It has to undergo careful training, and yes, sometimes pain from the trainer.  But in the end, the horse becomes a companion to the trainer, and a friendship develops through the burdens and pain.  The horse learns that the blessings that come from the trainer, the continual care, feeding, protection, love and fellowship, outweigh the pain.  So are our lives at the hands of our loving Father.  The pain and burdens come, but they have rewards. 

James 1:2-4 says My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”  If we had everything we needed for this life to being with, if we could be “perfect and complete”, we would not need to endure the trials of life.  But to reach the stage of “lacking nothing” we have to gain what we ourselves do not already have.  What we do not have within ourselves is found in our relationship with God. 
Yes, there are burdens given to you in this life that are greater than you can bear on your own.  But, they are given at the hand of a merciful and loving God to gain your dependence on Him – not to tear you down.  They test your faith, produce patience for life’s sorrows, build your character and testimony, and complete God’s work in you.  He becomes your strength and your help.  No, we can’t do life alone – and we were never meant to be self-sufficient!  But with God by our side, all things are possible.

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