GOD MADE US TO CARRY BURDENS
Donkeys are commonly referred to as ‘beasts of burden.” They are the animal of choice by hikers to go through dangerous mountain paths and rough terrain. And why are donkeys, who are half the size of a horse, so strong and resilient? Because God made them that way. God made them to endure heavy burdens.
As I have travelled through slums in Calcutta, mountain communities in Nepal, villages in Africa, the streets of Port au Prince, Haiti and other places – there’s something that becomes painfully obvious. Life is not fair. King Solomon said that the fastest runner does not always get the prize. In her book, Breath, Eyes, Memory, Edwidge Danticat talks about a people group in Guinea who she describes as “carrying the sky on their heads.” The fate of some demands them to carry more burdens than others.
God’s Word gives us some significant encouragement in I Corinthians 10:13. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NRSV) God has promised not to allow burdens to overwhelm you. He has set limits and knows exactly how much you can bear.
My sister-in-law, Mary Ellen, was diagnosed with cancer in her early fifties. Her plate was already full with five kids and other responsibilities. For 2 1/2 years her condition grew worse. Yet not a whimper was heard. Why? She was a living example that God never gives us more than we were designed to bear. Mary Ellen remained strong in the sufficiency of God to sustain her right to her earthly end, which came for her on May 10, 2013. At her funeral everyone was asked to wear bright colors to celebrate her life and steadfast faith in God.
When the pressures of life squeeze in on us, we need to pause to remember those souls who “carry the sky on their heads.” Think of the millions that are trapped in large city ghettos – most with nothing more than the clothes on their back. Think of the handicapped, the disabled – people in regions of war. Think of the paralyzed and broken. People who must wait on others to feed them and care for their basic needs. Our plight is easy by comparison.
In those times we are tempted to scream, “I can’t stand any more pressure,” God would have us remember that His grace is sufficient. That He is with us and has given us his word never to allow any more pressure upon us than we – with His help – can handle.
“Blessed are those whose strength is in You, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca (weeping), they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.” (Psalm 84:57)
Be blessed my friend.
The Barnabas Group / Loads of Love
II Corinthians 4:8-9; Psalm 56:8-11