The Burden is Too Heavy for Me

10:46 AMHeather

A few years ago, we were on our way to sunny Mexico for Spring Break.  It was an amazing opportunity, gifted to us, to enjoy a week on the shores of Lake Chapala in Ajijic, Mexico.  We'd packed and planned, double checked with various sources about safety for our travels, and were finally enthusiastically on our way.  

Only we weren't.  We were sitting on a plane, in early morning fog, on the tarmac at DFW.  No problem.  At first.  But, as the minutes ticked past, we realized we were in great jeopardy of missing our connecting flight to Mexico.  My heart raced as my anxiety soared.  At first, the flight attendant was completely uninterested in our dilemma.  Finally, he realized what we were trying to say--we have 3 small children and all our carry-ons to race across the Houston airport for the ONLY flight to our destination going out that day.  

Sweat was dripping down my face, as we landed with the cheers of both the flight attendant and the fellow passengers who had been won over to our problem.  They all allowed us to get off the plane first.  Our plan of action was for the gate agent to call the connecting flight to let them know we were on our way.  I'd run with the two smaller children--and I do mean RUN.  And, Chris and our oldest son would carry the burden of all the bags.  It was our best strategy to tackle our problem and get to that plane.  Our thinking was that I could go faster with two children sprinting and no bags--and surely the awaiting gate agent would not deny boarding us, knowing the rest of my family (and our bags) were close behind.  

It. was. close.  I clung to their little hands on either side, and we sprinted--as politely as you can--through the airport to travel to another terminal and stop the plane.  I looked back once as I took off, seeing poor Chris and Collin with bags slung across every shoulder and their backs.  It looked like too much to bear.  But, our strategy worked, with literally one minute to spare.  Whew!

And, today, this is the picture I have in my mind, as I consider the many people I know who face situations that seem to be too much to endure.  They are in a race--some for their lives--and time seems to be ticking along, pressing in on them.  The weight of their burden is too much for one person to carry--cancer, terminal illnesses, and other such horrors.  Their children and spouses given scary diagnoses, the rest of the family reeling.  The burden is too heavy for them.  And, as I read their stories on various blogs or receive updates from mutual friends, I feel the weight of that burden, too.  My heart is heavy.

But, praise God, we have a Biblical example of a similar situation in Numbers 11.  God's anger is literally burning around his disobedient Israelite children, as fire sweeps through their camp.  Faithful leader, Moses, prays for deliverance, and God grants it.  But, then, the Israelites, rather than respond with gratitude, greet Moses with grumbling and complaining and whining about the manna they have to eat and the lack of meat.   They actually say, "we remember the fish we at at no cost in Egypt!"  (Numbers 11: 5).   They conveniently have forgotten at this point that they were slaves, being fed in order to keep the labor force alive.  And, just when you thought it couldn't, things get even worse for Moses, as he "heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents" (verse 10).  Talk about a Calgon moment...I'd imagine poor Moses had just had enough.  In fact, he lets us know he was drowning in the pit of his circumstances. 

11 He asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.” 

I know that is a long passage.  But, I ask you to read it again, and imagine yourself saying it about your own situation.  Do you feel like Moses--Lord, WHY have you brought this trouble on your servant?  WHY this illness?  WHY this diagnosis?  I am your servant--what have I ever done to deserve this?   I can nearly hear Moses saying, "Why'd you give me these whiny baby people?  Good gravy.  Their freedom and manna is just not good enough!  What more do they want?"  Maybe your burdens today aren't of the life threatening type, but you are so bogged down in the monotony of mothering that you feel like this--why have you given me these whiny toddlers?!  I can't pour myself out anymore like I have been!
And,then, the phrase that I think might sum up how many feel today.  Moses says, "the burden is too heavy for me...if this is how you're going to treat me...please go ahead and kill me.  If I have found favor with you, don't let me come to my own ruin!"  In the face of your adversity, you might completely relate to Moses.  If things are going to get this bad, with the possibilities I am facing, I'd rather be with you in heaven.   Don't let this horrible thing happen that I am facing!

Glimpse of grace:  You might very well be at your wit's end, too.  You might feel that things are so bad, you've lost your hope.  You are crying from the pit.  If so, I have news for you.  God hears.  And God is moved to action on your behalf.  Let him.  We might imagine lots of ways out of our problems, many of which aren't great options.  But, God is great.  The same yesterday, today, and forever.    

Moses' solution was kill me now, Lord!  God instead appoints 70 leaders to bear the burden with Moses.  He provides Moses just the help he needs to carry it all.  As for those grumbling Israelites?  Yep, God heard them, too.  And, he had a solution to fix them right up.  He gives them meat, alright.  In fact, he says that he will give them so much meat it will come out of their nostrils and they will loathe it. That'll teach them a lesson.

God fought for Moses.  He heard.  He moved on his behalf.  Now, I'm not saying God is going to fix up your grumbling children in a similar fashion, but He will show up.  And, show up big.  He will give you a way out.  You can sprint ahead, unencumbered, and let Him carry your bags.  Just hand it over, and let him, and then press forward.  

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7

Friend, if you feel that the burden is too heavy for you, then you are exactly right.  You weren't intended to shoulder it alone.  Let Him carry it for you and show up in all the details.  And, invite others to hold you up as you need them too.  Like the fellow passengers who cheered us on that we might make our flight, you have others who long to surround you and cheer you on.  You're going to make it.  One day at a time, depending on His new mercies for each day--or each moment.  Be like Moses--run to the Lord and cry from your pit.  Then, stand back and see Him be mighty to save.

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