Tag Archives: burden

Call To Me…

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” –Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)

Last month I had the chance to sit in on one of the adult Sunday School classes here in my new church setting. The discussion was already underway, so I just listened and discovered they were talking about Romans and someone had drawn a comparison to something in Ezekiel. The idea raised was pretty interesting so I decided to look it up later on. But when I actually made it to some alone time that evening, I accidentally opened up to Jeremiah, chapter 33 to be specific. And verse three (quoted above) just captured my heart and mind!

And that quick, I “heard” God offering me that same opportunity he had given to the prophet some six centuries  before Jesus’ birth.

Jeremiah had been arrested and confined in Jerusalem during the time that the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzur had besieged the city. Jeremiah heard God’s calls for the nation to repent, and he faithfully shared those divine messages, but they fell on deaf ears. Furthermore, the leadership of his nation, King Zedekiah, wasn’t listening to sound counsel, nor was he turning to God to repent and do things God’s way. Jeremiah had to have  moments of doubt and wondering and grief and sorrow over what he could see was coming for his beloved land.

Now-a-days we are half-way around the world and over two and a half millenia have passed since Jeremiah’s day. I have days when I wonder what’s going to become of this land I love so much. Nobody seems to want to hear the call to repentance that God still extends to all. The leadership in our political parties and in official government positions seem intent at times to not only reject God’s ways, as laid out in the Bible, to actively promote the violating of any “rule” God might have laid down. Some of us have been wondering where this is all going to end… especially in light of what seems like hopeless choices for the election of various officials throughout our governmental system… or even our church organizations, allegedly “the people of God” and yet seemingly intent on turning our back on anything God has asked of us… at least if it involves repentance from sin.

This verse, as it JUMPED OUT at me that night, reminded me that my first responsibility in those moments of wondering about the future, or my country, or even my church, is not to cry out in frustration or to vow to vote for this one or that one or to try to come up with my own plans to “keep the peace.” Rather, Jeremiah 33:3, reminds me that my PRIMARY responsibility as I look around at all that’s happening is to…

… simply call out to God.

“Call to me and I will answer…”

And that quickly, the anxiety begins to lift a little and Jesus’ inviting words flood back into my memory:

28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”   —Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

Jeremiah, even though he was facing overwhelming odds and great certainty that everything was falling apart, could call out to God and lay down his burdens before his lord. As I look at the uncertainty of my life, my nation, my health, my church denomination, my wife and children’s futures, my finances, even my own mental health… I can call out to my God and lay out all my burdens before Him… and give those burdens to him! He’ll take on those burdens and give me rest… and hope… and peace… even in a world that seems like its going to pot.

Oh yes, Lord! Remind me again and again that there is NO reason for me to carry all my cares, concerns, and burdens alone. Remind me to CALL to you and then lay these other things down to you as I simply draw closer to You, to learn from you and hear You. And I can then trust You to answer me and show me Your ways… even though I cannot see them from here. AMEN!

 

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“Only What We Can Handle”?

A couple of weeks ago I again heard someone claim “I know God won’t give me more than I can handle, but I wish He didn’t trust me so much!” This person was a good Christian, but they’re not alone… Christians (especially American Christians) often make reference to this belief that God won’t give you more than you can handle.

The problem, of course, is that it’s NOT true and it’s NOT even in the Bible!

If God only allowed what we could handle on our own, then we would NEVER NEED GOD!

As humans, the only times most of us remember to even seek God’s help is when we ARE overwhelmed… THAT’s when we need God the most!

I started thinking about all of this the other day when I stumbled upon an entry in a day by day kind of guide that highlights events on any given day.

JULY 28 (1960)

American Trappist monk Thomas Merton confesses in a letter, “I can depend less and less on my own power and sense of direction—as if I ever had any. But the Lord supports and guides me without my knowing how, more and more apart from my own action and even in contradiction to it.”

— from This Day in Christian History by William D. Blake (Barbour:2011), entry for “July 28.”

As I read it, I immediately thought of what the Bible DOES say… and I turned to the Apostle Paul’s words in Phillipians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (NKJV)

When I feel like I’ve been given too much to handle, THAT’s proof that God is still trying to woo and draw me closer to Him! He’s deliberately allowed all the stuff of life to build up and start to overwhelm me so that I can remember that I NEED His help!

The question is: “Will I turn to Him and ask for His help or will I try to ‘handle it’ all by myself?”

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