Burdens. Heartbreak. Affliction.
All of these words bring about a heaviness on my soul when I hear them. Perhaps it's because I can clearly identify the emotional struggles that go along with those words. I've witnessed it firsthand in friends struggling to care for disabled family members or severe health issues and people with extreme financial problems. In my own life, I've experienced these burdens when a succession of problems and tough times were dogging my every waking moment. It's that point when I started to cry "Uncle." The weight of the burdens were too much to bear on my own.
I've been thinking on this issue for many months now. After a friend confessed that she felt as if the Lord will sometimes give us more than we can handle, I really wrestled with this issue. After all, I don't like to see people struggling under the weight of those burdens.
There's a prevailing thought in the Christian community that God wants us to always be happy and free from difficulties, living an abundantly blessed life. Sounds very appealing, but I don't buy into that sort of theology. After all, the scripture clearly says we will have trouble. I've written about that in a previous post.
I do agree that God does want the best for his children, but the word best is key to this issue. For one person, best may mean all those great things for a season. For his next door neighbor, best may mean struggling to make ends meet.
There are a variety of reasons why we end up in these situations. We might be thrown into the situation by someone else's choices, our own actions may bring about consequences, or we may not know why this side of heaven. It's really a soveriegnty issue because God wants to accomplish something different in everyone. Who am I to say that I know better than God what's best for me?
The good news is that we don't have to bear these burdens on our own. See Galatians 6:2 and Matthew 11:28-30.
I recently read a very good article by Dr. Charles Stanley on this topic. I think he does a very good job of explaining what burdens are and how believers are to respond to them. Please take a few minutes to read this short article called Taking Care of Burdens.