Monday, February 24, 2014

On Strength for Burdens

Throw your burden upon Yahweh,
and he will sustain you.
He will never allow the godly to be upended.
Psalm 55:22, NET

Last spring as I read from The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs, I copied out this quote to share with y'all and then never did. It dovetailed so well with my thinking on the Psalm 55 verse I read this morning that it seemed a good day to share them both. We all need strength for burdens on Mondays, yes? {Smiles}
A gracious heart has contentment by getting strength from Jesus Christ; he is able to bear his burden by getting strength from someone else. Now this is a riddle, and it would be counted ridiculous in the schools of the philosophers, to say, If there is a burden on you you must get strength from someone else, who is not near you as far as you can see, they would think ridiculous. But a Christian finds satisfaction in every circumstance by getting strength from another, by going out of himself to Jesus Christ, by his faith acting upon Christ, and bringing the strength of Jesus Christ into his own soul, he is thereby enabled to bear whatever God lays on him, by the strength that he finds from Jesus Christ. Of his fullness do we receive grace for grace; there is strength in Christ not only to sanctify and save us, but strength to support us under all our burdens and afflictions, and Christ expects that when we are under any burden, we should act our faith upon him to draw virtue and strength from him. Faith is the great grace that is to be acted under afflictions. It is true that other graces should be acted, but the grace of faith draws strength from Christ, in looking on him who has the fullness of all strength conveyed into the hearts of all believers.

Now if a man has a burden to bear, and yet can have strength added to him--if the burden is doubled, he can have his strength trebled--the burden will not be heavier but lighter than it was before to his natural strength.

Indeed, our afflictions may be heavy, and we cry out, Oh, we cannot bear them, we cannot bear such an affliction. Though you cannot tell how to bear it with your own strength, yet how can you tell what you will do with the strength of Jesus Christ? You say you cannot bear it? So you think that Christ could not bear it? But if Christ could bear it why may you not come to bear it? You will say, Can I have the strength of Christ? Yes, it is made over to you by faith: the Scripture says that the Lord is our strength, God himself is our strength, and Christ is our strength. There are many Scriptures to that effect, that Christ's strength is yours, made over to you, so that you may be able to bear whatever lies upon you, and therefore we find such a strange expression in the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians, praying for the saints: 'That they might be strengthened with all might according unto his glorious power', unto what? 'Unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness'--strengthened with all might, according to the power of God, the glorious power of God, unto all patience, and longsuffering with joyfulness. You must not therefore be content with a little strength, so that you are able to bear what a man might bear by the strength of reason and nature, but you should be strengthened with all might, according to the glorious power of God, unto all patience, and too all longsuffering (Kindle location 730).
And with that, please allow me to pray for you, dear Crumble reading this today, with the passage Jeremiah Burroughs quotes at the end of the text above:
"For this reason we also, from the day we heard about y’all, have not ceased praying for y’all and asking God to fill y’all with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may live worthily of the Lord and please him in all respects—
bearing fruit in every good deed,
growing in the knowledge of God,
being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for the display of all patience and steadfastness,
joyfully giving thanks to the Father who has qualified y’all to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light"
(Colossians 1:9-12, NET with Texan version Chrome plug-in adjustments).

For my own part, I thank Him for a few of His gifts the past week or so:
His superabundant strength for our weaknesses,
His willingness--indeed, invitation--to bear my burdens,
friends willing to be faithful custodians of each others' stories,
a great pain day when I needed it for the Thunder Twins' birthday,
Terza's creativity and hard work in her sons' Lego party (see below)

Oreo truffles with a marshmallow "button" on top, dipped in candy coating and decorated with food-safe markers
my amaryllis opening after weeks of suspense,
my friend's birthday amaryllis growing two stalks,
beautiful sunrises,
my Amore and my Ebony Dog catching some snuggles before church,

an unexpected, grace-filled conversation with an acquaintance after church,
permanent orthotics to help my ankle tendinitis heal, Lord willing,
a product exchange going much better than expected,
starting Ephesians 6 at last (perhaps I'll finish that memory project this year!),
a great mission trip report from a friend,
and this lovely text from another friend today: "No matter what I am asked to face today, His Grace has already made it possible for me to see it as a love letter from my Beloved. Hope your week is filled with Love Letters."
And yours too, friends!
(2014 gratitude journal #538-552)

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