Facing Storms: Who is Your Lifeline?
Hurricanes pummel our coastlines leaving flood damage and power outages. In third world countries like Haiti, storms can wreak havoc on everyone and everything in their wake. We have all had our own hurricanes. Here are Beth Moore’s words of encouragement when you face storms in your life:
“Have you had times when a stab of pain was personal enough and stunning enough to somehow cause you to put your hand over your mouth and keep it there a while? Times when you want to scream, “What is going on here? What is this madness? How did this happen??”
If you’re like me, you find it much easier to talk about a storm in its wake. In the middle of it, you’re just trying to hold on tight to the edges of the boat and keep from throwing up while it rocks to and fro. I’m still in it so I’d rather not even speak to it directly and once again ask you to resist conjecture as well. This is such a public format. I don’t want anyone involved in the challenge hurt by any words here. There’s enough hurt. But I want to be able to minister here and serve here and share with you even in the middle of a hard situation. Please let me leave it at that. Staying general invites more people to relate anyway.
One reason I have a quiet come over me in a season like this is the pure length of time that can be involved. Yesterday someone I’m crazy about shot me a very loving text that included, “How is it all going?” and I never answered it because it’s going the same as it went last week. Anybody understand what I’m saying? This dyed in the wool sanguine likes to say, “SO MUCH BETTER!” I don’t like to burden people long term. Oh heck, I don’t like to be burdened long term either. Who does?? In our humanity, we all wear out eventually. But sometimes the fact is, we’re not quite at the point of so much better yet. We will be. Make no mistake. Those of us who are willing to let Jesus minister to us in the deepest parts of our souls and knead the crushed grain of brokenness into break will indeed be so much better. It’s just a matter of time. Satan will indeed be defeated. And God will make sure he’s sorry.
I decided I had the words to write to you – not because I suddenly felt talky but – because Charles Spurgeon supplied them to me. They landed on a sore spot in my soul and brought some comfort and insight. I thought I’d just share the whole thing with you then make a closing comment or two. From Morning and Evening, today’s date…
“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.”
— Psalm 55:22
Care, even though exercised upon legitimate objects, if carried to excess, has in it the nature of sin. The precept to avoid anxious care is earnestly inculcated by our Saviour, again and again; it is reiterated by the apostles; and it is one which cannot be neglected without involving transgression: for the very essence of anxious care is the imagining that we are wiser than God, and the thrusting ourselves into his place to do for him that which he has undertaken to do for us.
We attempt to think of that which we fancy he will forget; we labour to take upon ourselves our weary burden, as if he were unable or unwilling to take it for us. Now this disobedience to his plain precept, this unbelief in his Word, this presumption in intruding upon his province, is all sinful.
Anxious care often leads to acts of sin. He who cannot calmly leave his affairs in God’s hand, but will carry his own burden, is very likely to be tempted to use wrong means to help himself. This sin leads to a forsaking of God as our counsellor, and resorting instead to human wisdom. This is going to the “broken cistern” instead of to the “fountain;” a sin which was laid against Israel of old. Anxiety makes us doubt God’s lovingkindness, and thus our love to him grows cold; we feel mistrust, and thus grieve the Spirit of God, so that our prayers become hindered, our consistent example marred, and our life one of self-seeking.
Thus want of confidence in God leads us to wander far from him; but if through simple faith in his promise, we cast each burden as it comes upon him, and are “careful for nothing” because he undertakes to care for us, it will keep us close to him, and strengthen us against much temptation. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.”
Spurgeon, C. H. (2006). Morning and Evening : Daily readings (Complete and unabridged; New modern edition.). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.
I like to do my early morning reading out of a different translation than the one I use the rest of the time. Different wording often has a way of stirring up a different response in me. So, a couple of translations sit on my desk where I have my quiet time. One is always The NET Bible because Melissa gave it to me several years ago and it has (literally) “60,932 Translators’ Notes.”
If I’m not presently doing a Bible study in my quiet time like the one I just finished of Kelly Minter’s, then often I’ll open up a devotional reading like Spurgeon’s. Because many of the daily devotionals don’t have longer Bible readings assigned with them, I check the verse they’re using then turn to that chapter in my Bible and read it. (True to form, I’m making this explanation harder than it has to be. I’ll try to cut to the chase.)
SO, this morning I opened up The NET Bible and read a large portion of Psalm 55. When I got to verse 22 – the verse captioned in the Spurgeon devotional – I sat tight on the NET translation:
“Throw your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you. He will never allow the godly to be upended.”
Maybe you’re visual, too, and right about now you’re picturing throwing. Like hauling off and throwing something as hard as you can. And maybe getting a little frustration and madness out of your soul while you’re at it. Maybe crying while you’re doing it. Even out loud.
Before you’re tempted to hold it to your chest and suffocate yourself nearly to death with it.
Then something else spoke to me. It was one of those 60, 932 scholars’ notes. The comment footnotes the word “you” at the end of the phrase “Throw your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you.” I’ll just cut and paste the note from my Bible software so you can see it for yourself.
“The pronoun is singular; the psalmist addresses each member of his audience individually.”
Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ps 55:22). Biblical Studies Press.
Individually. We EACH have the invitation to throw our burdens upon the Lord and let Him sustain us. Not the “we” of us. The “you” and “me” of us. We also each have the responsibility. In other words, no one can throw our burden on the Lord for us. We can’t call in a relief pitcher. Don’t misunderstand. We can certainly call upon people to pray for us and with us and the New Testament adamantly tells us to carry one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) but listen.
There is a difference between a burden that is entrusted for us in a season that we are to partner in sharing and carrying. Say, for instance, a long term illness or thorn in the flesh. But the part of the burden that we are inadvertently – even accidentally – playing God over needs to be THROWN, Girlfriend. The part we’re suffocating under because we’re no longer walking, we’re laying down with it on top of us, needs to be…
When we keep trying to figure out what would fix it, then we try that, and it doesn’t work so we wring our hands and go to the next fix, we need to throw it. We cannot be Savior. We know that because, Lord help us, we cannot even save ourselves.
I so don’t want to be depressing this morning. Forgive me. See? That’s why I’m not as anxious to write while I’m right in the middle of something. But, after this morning’s reading, I don’t feel as depressed about it. I feel a little lighter. A little less weight on my chest. My hope is that you do, too. And if you do, it won’t be this post. It will be Jesus.
Oh, you guys. I love you so much. I care so much. Don’t grow weary. God is working. Jesus IS Savior. HE WILL SAVE.”
http://www.lproof.org/. Excerpts from Beth Moore Blog, May 26, 2012. Used by permission.