"...carries our burdens..."
" Praise the Lord, who carries our burdens day after day; he is the God who saves us." (Psalm 68:19)
I was out of town at a meeting earlier this week and awoke one morning surprised to find a couple of inches of fresh snow blanketing the area. This small tree caught my attention because its tiny branches seemed to hold an enormous amount of snow for their size. I was amazed that in spite of their tremendous burden the branches held strong. It got me to thinking about burdens and times in my life when I've felt as though my arms were heavy laden with burdens that seemed like all if not more than I could hold.
Years ago when I was completing my doctoral work at Boston University I experienced such a time. In addition to attending classes I also served as the pastor of a church that had burned to the ground before I arrived (with a ministry that was collapsing before it burned) and worked a part-time work-study job at the university. At the same time I also endeavored to be a faithful husband and father. I remember folks asking me, "How in the world are you doing it?" Looking back on it I would probably wonder the same thing, "How in the world did I ever get through it all?" When I consider the complexity of the situation, the time demands, and the stresses that came at me from all directions it seems almost impossible that I survived and was faithful to all my commitments. Some would say I was crazy for even trying. However, the answer to how I did it is clear - God got me through it. That's my version of the psalmist's proclamation above, "Praise the Lord, who carries our burdens day after day; he is the God who saves us."
The truth is that I could not have made it through without the grace and strength of God at work in me, for me, and through me. The more impossible it may seem, the more it is a testimony to God's strength, not mine. Honestly, there are many times that I find myself asking the question, "How in the world will I ever get through this?" The burden can seem too much to bear. The complexity of the situation might seem intimidating. The tug and pull from so many people coming from so many different directions might feel overwhelming. It's in those times I pause to remember not only my own experiences, but also those of other persons of faith like the psalmist if the Old Testament who would proclaim in one way or another, "God got me through, so God will get me through."
I'm in the midst of transitioning as pastor from one church to another. I can feel the "weight" starting to bear down upon me. My prayer is simple,
"O God who has gotten me through, I trust in you to get me through -- again." How about you?
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia
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"...carries our burdens..."