The pollen levels have been out of control the past few days. My normal allergy medicine has not been enough to combat the problem. Then the officials called for a Code Orange warning, which signifies poor air quality that will thereby impact those who are “sensitive.” This means people who are losing their allergy battle with pollen, people who have asthma, etc., should proceed with caution.
As I was walking the dogs, I was having intense breathing issues from the pollen. My great hope was the medicine that I would take after I finished walking the dogs. As I continued to drag my feet a mile, pollen from a tree blew right into my eye. Pollen 2, Tania 0. I spent the rest of the walk trying to get my watery eye to expel the bits of pollen, only able to walk with one eye open.
Life usually is full of struggle after struggle, whether small or large. It seems when we think we cannot handle anymore, something else is piled on top to cause us more of a burden. Sometimes it appears as if the world is against us. Truth be told, we aren’t meant to carry all this burden alone. Remember, we are not in this alone. Also, the world is against us. If we are living for Jesus, if we are not of this world, then we are standing against the world and the world will always be against us. Thankfully we know this world is temporary. God’s Word tells us that heaven and earth have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, that one day there will be a new heaven and a new earth. The world may be against you – but God is always for you!
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:13 [ESV]
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31 [ESV]
Does God ever give you more than you can handle? That is something people debate often. Many times I hear that God will never give you more than you can handle. This is often said when we are going through something tough in life like a loss of loved one, a painful illness, or an employment layoff. As we suffer and look to friends with our tear-stained faces, we hear the somewhat comforting words, “God never gives us more than we can handle. You’ll get through this.”
When I hear these words, I consider 2 Corinthians 1:8, where it says that the people were “crushed and overwhelmed beyond… ability to endure.” They were suffering. They believed they would not live through it. I consider Job, who lost it all—family, financial resources, health. Could you handle this? Would this be more than you could handle? I know some were not able to make it through. I know some who could not take it anymore. Why do we think we should be able to face all of this, that we can handle anything thrown our way? It is not that easy. We shortchange ourselves believing it is that easy. Instead, cling to the Father.
The Bible does not say that God will not give you more than you can handle. The truth is this world is a dark place and you may find yourself drowning and unable to cope. What the Bible does says is that God “will not let you be tempted beyond your ability.” In 1 Corinthians, it says that God “will provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” This is talking about temptation, not about pain and suffering. This is saying that when we are tempted, there’s always a way to not succumb to the temptation. We saw this demonstrated. While Jesus was in the Wilderness, He responded with the Word of God when faced with each temptation.
Today, you may be facing something very difficult. You may not think you can make it through it. Whether it is too much to handle or just getting the best of you, know that you have a Heavenly Father Who is the Comforter. Cling to Him. Remind yourself of His promises. Surround yourself with those strong in the faith and be in continuous prayer. This great burden is temporary my friends.
“We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” – 2 Corinthians 1:8 [NLT]
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13 [ESV]
Tonight as I walked the dogs, I proceeded down a street I walk every day. As I continued forward, I heard the sound of a drill sergeant from what I imagined. I couldn’t make out the words because it was in the distance, but I envisioned the scenes I had seen again and again in movies. When I got closer, I noticed the all-familiar face of a soldier I spoke to in passing many times.
As this soldier sat on his porch swing, he looked forward, staring at the flags before him—the American flag and the Gadsden flag (“Don’t Tread On Me”). He shouted orders as he stared until he saw the dogs and I approaching. Then he apologized and confided that he got papers today—a red one and a white one. These papers are not what you are probably thinking; they were divorce papers. We spoke for a bit. He was somewhat incoherent. My dog was getting antsy due to an approaching dog so I told him to “hang in there” and continued walking. He returned to his shouting. I felt great sadness.
I ended up crossing the street and passing by again. We again spoke briefly. I told him to “take care.” I started praying for him as I journeyed onward. A short distance ahead were police—two police officers speaking with a neighbor. In little time they made their way up to this man. I continued to pray as sorrow began to weigh me down. Why did I not stay longer to speak with him? Why did I not pray with him? So tonight I pray, I pray for this man who knew I didn’t understand. He said it numerous times during his incoherent mumbling. But I know a God Who understands. He understands even the groans when we cannot speak. He understands all the hurt, all the pain, all the temptations, all the struggles. He understands it all. Sometimes I cannot understand but I’m thankful He always does. Sometimes I cannot find the right words, but He always has a Perfect Word. And I’m thankful that the weight I felt from the burden of sorrow I can give to Him and rest in His promises.
Please pray for this soldier. I don’t know his name. But God does.
“Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” – Hebrews 4:14-16 [MSG]
I have a problem accepting help from others. I am a very independent person and throughout my life I have grown very accustomed to doing things on my own. It is my first hand nature to simply roll up my sleeves and get to work on whatever needs done. Whether the washing machine breaks or the lawn needs mowed and I’m wearing an eye patch and can barely see to mow it, I get things accomplished. I push through the pain. I stretch myself. I even get overwhelmed trying to get it all done, but I get it finished.
Asking for help is something I do not like to do but I am getting better. There was a time when it was a pride issue. Then it turned into an issue of not wanting to inconvenience anyone. But today’s passage makes it clear that when something needs addressed, it is important to seek advice from others, to get help from others. Wise guidance. We all need wise guidance. The verse refers to getting this advice before we make war; however, help is needed in many facets of life.
We are not meant to do life alone. We are supposed to have a community of people to which we belong, and the community is to help encourage, strengthen, comfort, equip, support, and interact with each other. When someone needs help, the group is there. When someone falls, the group helps to pick them up. Ecclesiastes made it clear that two is better than one so we need to never push people away. We need to remember that counsel is important, and that we should appreciate and take all the help offered. Refusing is denying the blessing. Refusing is piling the burden on your shoulders. Refusing to do life with others is living in a way God never intended.
“Form your purpose by asking for counsel,
then carry it out using all the help you can get.”
-Proverbs 20:18 [MSG]
When I was younger, my dad taught me to carry things on my shoulders. In doing so, you are better using your body to carry the weight and less likely to get hurt. But as I became an adult, I began to pile things on my shoulders in other ways. I began to keep a hold of my problems and try to fix them myself.
Some of our problems cannot be solved alone. Some of our problems are problems because we try to do things alone. But there’s another way—another option for each one of us in life. We can give it to God. We can say, “God, I cannot do this alone. I can only do this with your help.” We can give it to Him and take a step back. We can trust Him and let go.
Piling your troubles on God’s shoulders is not giving up. Yes, you are giving up control and trusting Him with it; however, you were never in control in the first place. He was and is always in control. Even so, you are not giving up. You are giving in. Giving in to the fact that you cannot do life alone, giving in to Someone better, giving in for something more. Peace beyond understanding. Infinite power. Unconditional, everlasting love. You cannot handle this alone. He will help you out. Trust Him.
“Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders—
he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out.
He’ll never let good people
topple into ruin.”
-Psalm 55:22 [MSG]
I have had a lot of problems with insomnia over the years. There have been nights when I was so excited or in so much pain that I could not get to sleep. But there also were moments when I was so worried and anxious about something that it kept me from closing my eyes. I was worried. I was concerned. Yet there was nothing I could do to change the situation.
“Worry weighs a person down” even to the point of causing a person to lose sleep, have a poor appetite and lack of energy, and cause great problems to one’s health. The thing to remember is that worry does not help anything. Nothing can be changed by worry. Nothing can be fixed by worry. Worry only adds more weight. Worry only bogs you down.
Philippians 4:6 tells us to not be anxious about anything. Instead we are to give it to God. If you are worrying about something right now, give it to God. If you know someone who is going through a tough time, join them in prayer. As this proverb states, offer an encouraging word. Let them know you are praying for them. Remind them of God’s faithfulness. There’s too much in the world that can weigh us down. Let us focus on Him who can raise us up!
“Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” – Proverbs 12:25 [NLT]
We cannot do everything but too often we try to do everything anyway. We find ourselves helping out others and before we know it, we have a filled plate. We volunteer for the PTO, start coaching soccer, sign up for the church bake sale, teach Sunday School, and take on a second job. We sign up for overtime at work, agree to organize the family picnic, mow the neighbor’s lawn, and handle most of the chores in the house. We find ourselves swamped with stuff to do and our shoulders are not able to support everything. If there is too much – if the load is far too heavy—something will break.
In today’s passage, Moses was faced with the complaints of the people among other things. He was getting overwhelmed. He admitted to God that he couldn’t do it alone. That is one of the first things we each must do—admit that we cannot do everything alone. Then God shared with Moses His plan to assist so Moses would not have to carry the load alone. God was going to give the Spirit to a group of people to help Moses. All Moses did was tell God His problem—his need – and the need was met.
Moses was in a leadership position and we likewise have leadership positions, whether we are parents, teachers, bosses, or simply a person trying to do it all. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed because the load is far too heavy, simply take it to God and watch as He helps you carry the load. As well, do not try to take on too many things. When the Spirit of God was given to this group of men, there was delegation. You were not meant to do it all.
“I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy! … I will come down and talk to you there. I will take some of the Spirit that is upon you, and I will put the Spirit upon them also. They will bear the burden of the people along with you, so you will not have to carry it alone.” Numbers 11:14, 17 [NLT]