Tag Archives: burdens

Not Equal (Leviticus 7)

I find it so interesting, and reassuring, that each tribe brought exactly the same offering to the altar, no matter the size of the clan, or its wealth. All had equal share in the altar, all were required exactly the same. It speaks to me of our own equal footing before God in regard to our sin debt, and His grace equally available to all.

But there was something not equal in this chapter, too, and I have overlooked it until today. God told Moses to give carts and oxen to each Levite clan, “as each man’s work requires.” For those families in charge of the lighter loads, Moses assigned two carts and four oxen. For those with the heavier burdens, Moses gave four carts and eight oxen. The holy things didn’t require a cart or oxen at all. Those things were to be carried on the shoulders of the Kohathites.

I have a friend whose husband died yesterday. Janie’s load is heavy right now. And I know God will supply exactly what she needs to carry on with a broken heart, and a burden too great to carry on her own.

The thing is, she has lovingly cared for her husband these past 20+ months since his debilitating stroke. She has spent every day talking to him, even though he could not answer her. She has read to him, or just sat with him day after day after day, assuring him of her love with kisses and by holding his hand or stroking his cheek. It has been a difficult time.

Many people may think, “I don’t think I could do that. I’m not strong enough.” And they are right to think that. When our life is about carrying a lighter load, God doesn’t give us four carts and eight oxen. If our circumstances require us to do what we need to do while carrying our burden on our shoulders, He will not give us the strength of two oxen.

But let me assure you, that for those of us who know Jesus as our Savior, those of us who have a relationship with God Himself, we can count on all the oxen and carts we need when we need them. Not before. But exactly at the right time.

I’m praying for my friend today. She loves God, and Jesus is her Savior. I pray that she will recognize the strength that is hers through her relationship with God. I couldn’t do what she’s done, and what she is going to have to do in the days and weeks ahead. My burdens don’t require four carts and eight oxen right now. But Janie’s does. And I pray that she will find rest in the assurance of God’s strength, His love, and His Presence in her life.

I believe God gives His children what we need when we need it, that when we are at a place in life when we are crushed by pain, we find that Jesus provides exactly what we need to walk through it. One day my friend won’t need four carts and eight oxen. But she does today. And I trust that God is going to provide exactly what she needs.

 

October 12 – Burdens

Matthew 11

How can some people go through trials and hardships with joy while the same experience destroy others? I think of Corrie Ten Boome, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Joni Erickson Tada, Steve Saint. You many know people like my friend Sherry at the end of a long battle with cancer, yet singing God’s praises with joy in her heart. You probably know other people losing the cancer fight angry and bitter.

We all have burdens. Why don’t we all carry them the same way? I believe the difference is Jesus who says:

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. (vs 28)

God doesn’t promise to take away the burden, only to lighten it, only to give us rest in the carrying. Joy isn’t something we have to manufacture when we are going through trials. It’s something He gives out of His great love for us, for our good, and His glory.

Are you carrying a burden? Go to Him. Let Him be to you exactly what you need at this time in your life. Confess your sins, lay your burden at His feet, and let Him give you rest.

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I am actually sitting on my back porch this morning. The hurricane damage is evident on this island but it amazes me how many trees are down around houses instead of on them. In my own back yard a neighbor’s tree fell without touching his house, my house, or the house behind me. It’s like God directed that thing to fall in the only safe place it could have fallen. My windows are intact, my roof is undamaged, my house still stands. We prayed. God answered.

Praise God. I give Him all the glory.

 

 

March 11 – Carry Me

Deuteronomy 1&2

Get ready for a history lesson. Moses is preparing the  Jews to enter the Promised Land by reminding them where they’ve been, and what God had done every day for the children of Israel since they left Egypt forty years before.

Moses is speaking to people who had never been slaves in Egypt. Their parents had been. But their parents were dead now. Moses’ audience had not crossed the Red Sea, had not been there when Moses received God’s Commandments, or tapped a rock and got water. They hadn’t experienced the plagues that finally forced Pharaoh to let the Jews leave their captives. So Moses wanted to give them a history lesson to be sure they understood the role God played in their journey, the role God wanted to continue to play with this new generation of Jews now ready to enter the Promised Land.

Moses tells them that, during the forty years since the Jews left Egypt, God carried them, “just as a man carries his son.” (1:31) I love that analogy.

I love watching daddies pick up their children, lift them high over their heads, and place them on their shoulders. You probably rode on your own father’s shoulders. Maybe you’ve carried your own child in such a manner.

I recently saw a video of my then 16 year old nephew, picking up his four year old little brother, lifting him over his head with ease, and placing the boy on his shoulders. The teenager picked up the boy as if the youngster was as light as a feather.

But the other thing I love about this video is the look of joy on the face of my youngest nephew, the four year old child sitting high on his brother’s shoulders. I’m sure his world looked a bit different from that vantage point. It sure seemed to be a happy place.

And that’s what Moses wanted the children of Israel to realize. First, God is able to carry them all the way. And two, when we allow ourselves to be carried by our Heavenly Father, life looks pretty great from there. We have reason to smile!

So Father, carry me. Lift me high and let me rest on your shoulders. Take me where You want me to go, but never let me forget where I’ve been and what you have saved me from. I want, not only to walk with you today, but I want to let you do the heavy lifting of my burdens, my insecurities, my fears and failures. Thank You for wanting to.