I have had a lot on my mind lately. I haven’t written anything in over a week. I have been throwing a pity party of sorts. When last I wrote and spoke, I talked about learning to walk in the Spirit. How we achieve that by metanoia. Metanoia is a Greek word, meta meaning above, and noia meaning thinking. Together it means above thinking. It’s the idea of setting our minds on things above. I call this “Kingdom Thinking.”
But lately I have been so focused on the flesh and the struggles my family is dealing with since the start of my health issues. I am coming to terms with the fact that this may not have a cure. I may have to deal with whatever this is, for the rest of my time on earth. I have essentially been grieving the life I thought I deserved. I still do not have an answer to anything. God has asked me to sit and wait. To trust and to rely on him. Instead, I have been trying to do it on my own. I admit, I am not perfect. I am far from it and my flesh likes to take over from time to time.
God has asked me to walk a hard road. He has asked me to carry a burden. Every time I try and carry it on my own, I find I cannot do it. My shoulders were not built for it and I struggle to pull this burden. I am not made to walk this life alone. Neither are you. As I contemplate what I am going through and the opposition we have faced at every turn along this journey, I find it is my pride and my flesh that are really the cause of the problem. I must admit, I cannot do this alone.
Picture with me if you will, an ox. This ox has been tied to a heavy load. The farmer says, “stay put, I’ll be back. The load is heavy, but I will help you.” But being the stubborn ox, you try and try to pull the load. Struggling to even get it moving, it is far too heavy for you to pull. Yet your pride and your size tell you “I can pull this on my own. I’ll show the farmer.”
As you struggle against the weight, you find your little hooves digging into the dirt. The more you struggle the deeper the rut under your feet becomes. Before you know it, you are out of energy, zapped of strength, belly deep in a rut of your own making. Yet, you are cursing the farmer for tying you to this heavy load. You think to yourself, “the farmer made the burden impossible. I’m stuck here forever. I never should have let myself be tied to this burden. I thought I could do it.” You slowly sink down into the dirt and rest your head on the ground. “I give up,” you say.
Your eyes open to the sound of thunder. You look up to the sky, not a cloud in sight. What on earth could be making that sound. The thunderous sound grows louder and louder. You realize it is approaching you. Just when the sound is deafening the sound abruptly stops. The sound of the farmers gentle voice speaks to you. “I see you didn’t do what I said,” he chuckles. “Wore yourself out, didn’t you? Oh, you of little faith.” The farmer walks over, gently helps you out of the rut of your own creation. He grabs a shovel and fills in the holes you made, giving you a fresh start.
“I asked you to wait for a reason, I am here to help you,” says the gentle farmer. “Do you trust me?” You look into his eyes, “yes, I trust you, but why can I not pull this alone?” you ask. “You were never meant too,” the farmer smiles. “You were never meant to pull your burdens alone.” The farmer says “I am here to carry your burdens with you, will you allow me to yoke myself with you?” Not exactly sure how a 6-foot tall 180lb man is supposed to help a 2,000lb animal pull this load, but you relent. “I trust in you. Please help me move this load.”
“I was hoping you would ask,” says the farmer. He proceeds to take your yoke off. He places a lighter yoke on your neck. It is tied to something on the other end. I huge instrument of metal and chrome. He calls it a tractor. This is no ordinary tractor; it is the most powerful pulling machine in the world. The farmer climbs in the tractor and fires up the four, 557 cubic inch Hemi engines. All 10,000 horses, roars to life. This is the thunder you heard. You are yoked to a Super Modified Pulling Tractor capable of pulling 25,000lbs in seconds.
The farmer proceeds slowly so you can keep up. He is pulling all the weight; you are tagging along. You were not meant to pull this load. You were never meant to carry your burdens alone. You have the help of the gracious farmer with unlimited power. Sometimes we are tied to loads too heavy for us to move. But we have a God who wants to yoke himself to us, and he has all the power to move our burdens for us.
I have been too stubborn to realize this. Like the stupid ox, I think to myself, I can carry this. I am strong enough. Nope! I find I rely on my own strength too much. I think too highly of myself. My pride gets in the way of me asking the farmer for help, or just waiting like I am told. I have been told by God to wait, to only move when he moves. Yet I try to move my burdens and the pulling tactor by myself. My pride watches the tractor pulling all the weight but at the end of the day says, “yeah that was all me, I am so strong.” Stupid ox, it was God pulling the load, not me. I must get back to the mindset that God is strong when I am weak. He wants to carry my burdens for me. I cannot do it alone.
I am tired of hearing the lie, “God will never give you more than you can bear.” The truth is, God DOES allow us to bear burdens too heavy for us to carry alone. It makes us rely on him and his strength. Paul experienced this. Paul clearly states that he was given burdens too heavy to carry, so it made him rely on God. “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again, (2 Corinthians 1:8-10)
When you think you do not have the strength to continue, when the burden seems too heavy to carry alone, when you are being crushed by the weight of the world, so discouraged, that you would rather die; congratulations, you now understand Paul!
We are given burdens that seem too heavy to carry for the direct purpose of relying not on our own strength but the strength of God. Like the ox in my parable, we are not made to carry things alone. We are made to rely on God. God does, and will give us things too heavy to bear alone. For the express purpose of turning to him for help. Do not be a stubborn ox! Ask the gracious farmer for help. He is willing to yoke himself to you and carry the burden with all his power.
The farmer says, “come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” (Matthew 11:28-30). When we are yoked to Jesus, we find that the load is much easier to pull. It is not us. It is the power of God that is pulling this load. It is not us, the lowly ox pulling the load, it is the farmer with the super tractor pulling the load for us. But we must not be foolish like I am, and let pride get in the way. Thinking when the tractor stops and the farmer says stay, rest, wait, we go thinking we have the strength to continue. If the farmer says wait, we need to wait. Remembering that we cannot carry the load alone.
Sometimes things get to moving and the weight seems like it isn’t there. Then the tractor stops, the farmer says wait. But we think we can pull it. We rested all day; I have my strength I can do this on my own. Then the farmer finds us belly deep in a rut, exhausted, and broken once again. Do not pull against the burdens. It isn’t for you to carry alone. Let the power of God move the burdens at his pace. He moves slow enough for us to keep up. We need to stop being stubborn (yes, I am talking to me) and let the tractor do the work for us. Trusting and relying on the strength of God.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong, (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
Here I am, in the midst of a burden I cannot bear. No idea where to go. Still needing testing. Pretty sure I will have to live with the tremors, shaking, pain, and cramps for the rest of my life. I need to change my thinking. Metanoia – think of things above, kingdom thinking. God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness. I will boast all the more gladly in my burdens so that the power of God may be seen through this. When people look at me pulling the weight of this burden, I hope they look past me, and see the 10,000 horsepower tactor that I am yoked too. That they may see the strength of my God and the power of his might that is pulling me through this hard time. Even if this light and momentary affliction lasts the rest of my time here on earth, his grace is sufficient. His power is perfected in my weakness. His yoke is easy and his burden is light.
God forgive this poor stubborn ox for trying to bear the burden alone. I cannot do it without your help. I find myself stuck in a rut of my own making, exhausted, and complaining; time and time again. I give you my pride, I accept my weakness. May you be made perfect in my trials. May I always rely on you, because without you, I am going nowhere. Thank you for your grace, that stands me back up when I fall. That does not condemn. You smile “oh you of little faith, trust me.” Help me in my unbelief. Help me to trust even though I cannot see. You will not let me see the future. I have no idea where we are going. But I want to trust you enough to take you at your word. Lord be made perfect in my weakness.