Friday, August 01, 2008

Please Take My Burden

As powerful and moving as The Shack is, it's easy for us to miss the point. It's not just about getting a warm and fuzzy feeling about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Maybe the focal tragedy is so huge and heavy, that we don't see the fact that we all have a Shack. It's the place in our life where we question God and why He didn't do the things we expected Him to do for us. We all have a shack because we all, at some time, sit in judgement on God. It's not always a matter of facing a tragic crisis. It can be our disappointment that He didn't lift the burden we asked Him to take away from us - which we have been told we should do - right - "Give it to God!" - didn't seem to work. We are crushed and unable to find answers.

We have a loved one who is struggling with her anxiety about the future. It's scary, unknown, and potentially disastrous. Her love and faith in God is wonderful, but why hasn't He taken the burden away from her? Since she is struggling with an anxiety that is "common to man" I want to share a few point for us all to meditate on (and I hope it helps).

First, we need to take responsibility for our anxiety. We're not victims of some ruthless attack or suffering with some unexpected illness, but simply suffering from our own self imposed perspective. We are anxious because we choose to be anxious. We choose to look at the unknown with worry and concern. Why does one person look at the unknown future with excitement, seeing an adventure, and another see only things that cause fear? Choice.

Second, that is also why we need to be careful about blaming God or thinking He hasn't answered our petitions. How much has He already saved you from? How many potential burdens has He already removed? How many resources has He placed at your disposal so YOU could deal with the challenges ahead? How many people has He put in your life to love and support you, and "be there" IF something should happen to go wrong? He's really pretty incredible. We will never know how much He does for us because we really don't know what we need.

Third, and final, the absolute most important cure for anxiety is thankfulness. We are so bad about seeing all we have and all He's done that we allow what "might" happen to scare and sadden us. I watched a survivor of last year's bridge collapse being interviewed yesterday and all she could talk about was how important and valuable life is. She wanted to live each day to the fullest because it was too precious to waste. Thankfulness is all about recognizing what you already have, what God has done, and how incredibly blessed you are. But it's also about priorities. Someone who has just survived cancer isn't worried about finding a job or a house or what tomorrow may bring. If it brings life, everything else is secondary.

When you pray for God to protect a loved one who is in harms way, and He does that for eighteen months bringing him safely home to you, is it really that important to know what's going to happen next month?

If I start to worry too much about the future, I like to go ahead and picture the absolute worst case scenario and then objectively look at it. As I coolly review it, I think to myself, "I can handle it. God will take care of me, as He always has, and the the worst that could happen will only bring me closer to Him. Even if it means home with Him."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All very valid, true points, and ones that have taken me about 50 years to really place in my heart. They have been in my head since I first heard the scriptures, "Cast you burdens on Him...Take no thought for tomorrow, what you will have to drink or eat...All things work together for good to those who love God." It takes personal experiences that demand you let this message plant in your heart and usually very painfully grow to the beautiful flower of submission, acceptance, peace and inner joy. Or you don't. Not an easy gardening experience, but well worth the effort. So, I will continue to love as much like Christ as I can as I witness this struggling growth, and I look forward to viewing the complete beautiful flower it will eventually produce.