When It's Just Too Heavy
Sometimes life is so hard it makes you question everything. Sometimes the sky is so dark you can't see your hand in front of your face.
This broken world is an extreme dichotomy of pain and pleasure, of laughter and tears. The ups and downs are the texture of our existence. The thing about time is that it's only an idea. We only have right now and while we picture the future and remember the past, there's only this moment for us. That's just the way it is.
Further complicating the situation is that God is good all the time. It would be easy to think he loves us when the sun's on our backs and that he hates us when he spins up giant green tornados that shoot trailer houses around like toothpicks. But the truth of the matter is that even while our circumstances change, God never changes. Even though he has the power - and the loving paternal authority - to do what he wants with our lives, he does not rescue us from all hardship. That's not neglect, it's divine foresight.
Jesus tells us in the gospel of Matthew that we shouldn't be anxious for tomorrow because tomorrow will be anxious for itself and that sufficient for the day is its own trouble. In other words, we have right now and right now in this moment we sit underneath God's wings and he is paying attention.
Sometimes you just need to feel. Sometimes a trite "God's got this so it's all good" is so far from what you really think it's not even funny. Sometimes you're in the belly of the beast and while you know you should have faith, you can't find it. But it's like when you rush around your house to find your car keys and find that they've been in your hand the whole time.
So what do we do when it's too heavy? What do we do when our troubles are crushing us?
We have to offload the burden.
God is the only one who can carry our load. And if I'm reading this right now here is what I'm thinking. I am thinking that this all sounds rather ridiculous. So God is in control of everything. Okay. So he allows us to get cancer and lose friends and get bullied so we can turn around and submit to him in our pain? Come on, man. Couldn't he just forego the whole pain part? This seems like it's not that well thought out, or at worst heavy-handed.
Here is what we need to consider. We think life is binary, meaning we are completely in a state of pain or pleasure, good or bad. We think that death is bad and life is good. And to some degree, all of these things are true. But we miss the fact that all suffering is transformative. It is a transition. We miss the fact that sometimes suffering isn't a bait-and-switch, it's a gift from a loving Father.
Giving our burdens to God does not mean we no longer shoulder part of the load. It means we trust him in the outcome. It means we have faith in the future because we trust the God who guides us. And this hope lightens the load.
If you have experienced the goodness of God, this isn't a giant leap. If you have looked into the face of your newborn child or held the hand of a beautiful woman at the altar or watched a lightning storm from afar you know what I mean. If you've enjoyed food on your table and clothes on your back and at least one person who would give their life for you, you know what I mean. If you've figured out your sin is terrible but that the grace of Christ is overpoweringly liberating, you know what I mean. To trust God's character we need only open our eyes.
If you are carrying something heavy, it helps to keep going. To stop while you've got something massive in your hands is to make it nearly impossible to get going again. An object in motion tends to stay in motion, and an object at rest tends to stay at rest. So keep going no matter what, and make sure you keep your eyes open because God is teaching you something at this very moment, sunshine or rain.