Burdens (unabridged)

How are you feeling? I don’t mean in your stomach. I mean how is your soul feeling? There are people who forge ahead apparently unaffected even though everything around them is dismal and discouraging. To be honest, I’m not one of those folks.

Circumstance is anything but stable. When you look out the window of your soul, it’s not a pretty sight, is it? Investments down, costs up. Employment numbers vary by the media source. If what’s going on was evident, our experts would all say similar things. Instead, there is the cacophony.

It is not a sin to feel deeply about the situation around you. As a matter of fact, I would argue that the opposite is true. You should feel passionately about what is going on in your life, and if you don’t, either you are one of those seemingly unaffected folks, you are clueless, or you are in denial.

When I am engaged in hand-to-hand combat with disappointment, disillusionment, and the like it seems I often encounter a well-meaning person who tells me that if I will trust God I can live above my circumstances. And on that person’s heels comes another who exhorts me that God takes care of His own. And then there is someone who espouses that God has brought these difficulties into my life to teach me to trust Him.

Uh, huh. I’m sorry, but I’m not buying these perspectives.

Trusting God does not magically extract me from whatever wasteland I’m wandering through. And if circumstances are an accurate indicator of what God thinks of me, then in these tumultuous times I must conclude He doesn’t think too highly of me. Further, while God will do what is necessary to get my attention, I am not being hard hearted nor hammer headed. I’m paying attention!

No, the majority of the difficulties you and I encounter can be attributed to living in a fallen and imperfect world. Is God engaged in your world, and is He concerned about the state of your soul? Absolutely! And He never wastes any opportunity to point you toward His heart or to reveal the deep desires of your heart to you.

If you deny that you are experiencing a hard time, or make the mistake of discounting your soul’s struggle, you potentially rob yourself of seeing the depth and magnificence of Father’s grace and provision. Our forefathers in the faith struggled mightily, sensed God’s heart in the midst of their mess, and faithfully and honestly shared their stories with us. Why should we not emulate them?

Paul despaired. David was troubled. Peter cried bitterly. Job questioned. Moses argued with God. Mary wept. The disciples fished all night and caught nothing. Thomas doubted. The woman at the well was thirsty. Jesus pleaded.

I encourage you, do not discount the difficulty you are experiencing. Acknowledge that your soul is not feeling well. Then take your soul and whatever it is sensing—doubt, disappointment, discouragement, anger, frustration, hopelessness, etc.—and present your soul’s cry passionately to your Father.

It is hard dealing with worries. It is difficult to hold your head up when you are losing what you have worked hard to accomplish. It is a challenge to be confident when failure looms.

Your Heavenly Father knows these things. And, He sincerely intends for you to give your concerns and burdens to Him.

Don’t presuppose you know what is yours and what is Father’s. Chances are, if what you are hauling around feels heavy, then you are carrying things that don’t belong to you. Father stated that His load was light and his yoke easy. But to clarify, it is possible for your soul to feel bad while your heart sings like a bird!

I remind you of what Father said, “Come to Me, and you shall find rest for your soul” (Mt. 11:28-29).

It is our responsibility to come, to haul our stuff to where He is, to leave it with Him, to let Him sort through it, and then to guide us as to what of it is our responsibility and what of it is His responsibility.

In the meantime, don’t pick up anything other than what He says is yours to carry. Anything else is His and is far too heavy for you to haul around!