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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Considering the load

Have you ever felt like you are at the end of your rope - just ready to throw in the towel and call it quits?  In those moments, isn't it so easy to just accuse God of things like "ignoring us" or "not paying attention to our needs"?  We somehow equate things "not going our way" as God holding out on us, or just plain not giving a hoot about how we are fairing in the process.  In fact, we might even utter words which resemble these of our psalmist:  "I've looked at the back of your head long enough!"  It is easy to settle into the "mully-grubs" when things are not exactly as we might have liked for them to be in our lives, but it is quite another thing to "blame" God for getting or putting us there!  

Long enough, Godyou’ve ignored me long enough.  I’ve looked at the back of your head long enough. Long enough I’ve carried this ton of trouble, lived with a stomach full of pain.  Long enough my arrogant enemies have looked down their noses at me.  Take a good look at me, God, my God; I want to look life in the eye, so no enemy can get the best of me or laugh when I fall on my face.  I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms—I’m celebrating your rescue.  I’m singing at the top of my lungs, I’m so full of answered prayers.  (Psalm 13 MSG)

Perhaps, like David, we cry out:  "Hey!  God!  You've ignored me long enough!" Isn't it just like us to consider our circumstances, then point blame for the delay right back at God!  Since the beginning of time, we have been trying to "pin the blame" on someone (anyone) other than ourselves.  If we stop long enough to consider the meaning of the delay, we might just find God at work, just quietly and behind the scenes.  It is quite natural to feel like God has turned his back on us when there is some delay in realizing relief from stress or torment.  After all, we equate his loving-kindness and mercy with us being delivered from stuff which could do us harm, don't we?  God doesn't always get us into the middle of the muddle we are in, but he walks right alongside us where we find ourselves.  He isn't there uttering words such as "I told you so" - in fact, he is often silent, allowing us time to realize the folly of our own ways.

David says it well - it has been long enough, God.  God gives us just "long enough" to realize our independent choices, the folly of our ways, and the truth about who really is to "blame" for the mess we are in.  The stomach full of pain and the ton of troubles we carry are not a result of God's actions, but usually of ours.  Whenever we veer off-course - we can count on "bearing" things we really weren't meant to bear in the first place.  We face the arrogance of our enemies because we have come into the place of seeing them face-to-face - not because God brought us there, but because our choices led to this encounter.  God's "long enough" may seem like a little "too long" for most of us.  In fact, we want out immediately, forgetting how "long" it took for us to get into this mess in the first place.  Remember this - the road out is no different than the road in!

In realizing that "our lot" is misplaced - not really fully placed in God's hands - we take the first steps to having God "bear" our lot.  As long as we bear it, we endure the torture of carrying it, bearing up under its pressures.  As soon as we recognize it is misplaced in our hands, moving to transition it to God's hands, we recognize the release of having him carry us through.  I don't know about you, but whenever I have tried to carry things of my own doing, they get a little heavy and awkward to bear.  When God carries those things I find I have amassed without even knowing, my load is lifted, my steps are freer, and my ability to see his actions in my life are clearer.  The load I carry keeps me stooped forward, facing downward, seeing nothing but the path in front of me.  As soon as he lifts the load, I am able to straighten up, seeing him face-to-face again.

Instead of cursing the "load" you bear - consider it.  In considering it, attempt to recognize when and where you actually "picked it up".  You see, in recognizing where it was we began to carry what we were not designed to carry, we also recognize the turning point which will get us out from under this "load" which burdens our souls.  Just sayin!