Sunday, January 2, 2011

Heavy Lifting

John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Some Lyrics from Hillsong's "Savior King"

"We love you Lord, we worship you; You are our God, you alone are good. You asked your Son to carry this; The heavy cross our weight of sin. I love you Lord, I worship you; Hope which was lost, now stands renewed. I give my life to honor this,The love of Christ, the savior king"

I often struggle with the word “why?” when it comes to my journey or even the journey of others. I’m in the process of trying to revise my thinking and change the word from “journey” to “adventure.” I was watching a comic recently tell the crowd that he makes decisions now based on one simple criterion: What makes the best “story”? That cracked me up. It also challenged me.

Why shouldn’t our journey be more like an adventure? Why shouldn’t our walk be something special? I think it should. Unfortunately, “adventure” and “special” don’t always have a positive connotation. Also, our journey is not always determined by us. Sometimes it is touched by others, sometimes happenstance gets in the way, and then sometimes God the Father just has other plans that don’t match our own. I know this can be an unpopular view, but often true nonetheless: He even allows hardships our way. See “
Resistance Training.”

Often our walk is just a
grind; simply mundane. Sometimes it is just painful. I have a friend whom I write of often here – Fredy. He is my brother, my sounding board, and a great barometer of what grace under fire looks like. Without going into a lot of detail, Fredy’s journey of late has been painful and the load he currently carries is heavy.

Fredy lost his mom back in August, and his dad took it really hard. Also, his sister who had beaten breast cancer recently, was just diagnosed in December with Leukemia. Merry Freakin Christmas! So, Fredy has had many travels back and forth to Switzerland which is where he’s from, and where his Dad and sister still live. The travels alone are enough to wear most of us down. He’s there now helping his dad and sister deal with this latest fight. They are no doubt discouraged and battle weary.

Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

So as I was praying about Fredy's load and my frustration, the Lord dropped two words in my spirit – “heavy lifting.” The week before Christmas, I shared this at Railhead Church with the guys as we sipped frosty schooners and ate ribs, but I was still working it all out in my head even with Fredy sitting right there. It’s frustrating to see the ones we love go through a series of trials and painful events.

In the following days I feel like the Lord continued to shed light on the terms “heavy lifting.” I know there are seasons of struggle. There are times when people carry more than others. To whom much is given much is required right?

Take my job for example. I was chosen to be a “point man” on a project that lasted from August until the end of the year. It was hard. It was frustrating. It made demands and took a toll on every part of me. It was a season of me carrying a load that wasn’t required of others. It was “heavy lifting.”

In the middle of one of those really $h!++y days, one of my brothers in Christ at work sent an email to me. The subject line was CIAJ. That's it CIAJ. When I opened the email it simply had one line: "Consider it all joy." He had no idea what I had been going through as we hadn't talked with each other for about 3 weeks, but there it was in all of it's glory - "consider it all joy." I didn't know whether to laugh or cry or let expetives fly, but I knew it was truth. I replied with a hearty thank you.

There are people that are asked by the Father to endure things that others just are not. For some it is a season, but for some it is a life-long cross to bear. I know some who have affliction. I know some who have children with special-needs, or aging parents for whom they must care. I know some who have lost loved ones to sickness or tragedy and yet they journey on in faithful service to the One and Only. Yet some are still looking for that relief from the beat-down or for some glimmer of hope.

There is hope. There is a Day coming. There is portion. The Deliverer is coming – He is Faithful and True. The season of struggle, of “heavy lifting” is indeed a season even if it is life-long for this life is but a vapor. And there is this promise:

Romans 8:28-39 NIV
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
36 As it is written: For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So when don’t be discouraged when the cross seems a little extra heavy, His grace is sufficient for you. I used to hate that passage until Father God revealed it’s unique and personal application to me. Maybe next blog I’ll share about my thorn(s) of frustration and how God is untangling the knots. For now if you see someone who is doing some heavy lifting on their own, give ‘em a hand and remember – He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

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