Wednesday, November 23, 2016

  What’s in that Heavy Load You Carry?  

By Ada Brownell 

Why am I cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I will yet praise him for the help of his countenance” (Psalm 42:5

            Yes. I praise Him, especially at Thanksgiving for some BIG blessings.

I was parked at a high school waiting for my child after an evening event and couldn’t keep myself from observing students. The teens playfully insulted one another, juggled offensive language into the air like rotten apples, wrapped arms around a few girls, punched buddies, and then I noticed one of them was drunk.

Although his boisterous laughter filled the air, his eyes spoke louder than his mouth. No smile glistened there. My car was parked close enough that I could see the same hopeless look on the faces of other young people around him. Were the youths from broken homes where the single parent also lacked hope? Dysfunctional foster homes? Did the kids’ have a parent who was ill, abusive, an alcoholic, or just unloving? Or had these teens’ own rebellion consumed them?

I’ll never forget the kid who didn’t look over 12 or 13 lying unconcious on the grass in our neighborhood green space. He lay there alone while someone called an ambulance and a half dozen or so of us stood by. I prayed for him, thinking perhaps an accident had happened. I discovered later he suffered from alcohol poisoning, caused by consuming too much alcohol.

I wondered what on earth would cause a nice-looking youngster his age to overdose on alcoholic beverages?

People everywhere are trying to kill the pain of the weights on their minds and their spirits.

If we rummage around in the bag of burdens people carry we find heavy things: anger, grief, hurts, sickness, pain, handicaps, poverty, guilt, grudges, bitterness, lust, hatred, envy, covetousness, rebellion, self doubt, and the agony of never filling the God-shaped place inside us.

Perhaps they have not heard the prophecy about Jesus: “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory” (Isaiah 61:3NLT).
            Jesus confirmed the prophecy was fulfilled in him: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” Then He added, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:18, 21KJ).

I’ve often thought the reason suicide rates, and the consumption of alcohol and illegal drugs coincide with the erasure of faith in God in our homes, schools, government and among our leaders. People try anything to relieve the pain except what works—redemption from sin and the accompanying peace and joy that only comes from God.                                              

The Psalmist experienced discouragement. David wrote the quote at the beginning of this chapter, and sometimes there was a reason for his anguish, because he knew he’d sinned. Perhaps The most notable sin was observing Bathsheba while she was bathing and coveting Uriah the Hittite’s wife. He seduced her, and then called Uriah, one of David’s warrior’s, home from battle thinking if she conceived, the husband would think the child was his.

But Uriah was committed to the war and insisted on returning. So David ordered that the man be sent to the front lines where he would be sure to be killed. He was fatally wounded, and the king married Bathsheba.

The Bible says “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23), and David was rebuked by the prophet Nathan for what he had done.

Bathsheba was pregnant and in a few months a boy was born. Yet, the infant was sickly and despite all of David’s crying and seeking God for his son’s life, the little one died.

As he does with many of us, even after David repented, Satan kept accusing the king and his sin haunted him. Yet, even before he lay with another man’s wife, he was a sinner. The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Since Adam and Eve sinned, we’re all born with a sinful nature. That is the reason we’re all prone to sin, destined to die and need a Savior and Redemption.

Sin is a horrible thing and one of the nasty things about wickedness is its effect on us and those against whom we sin. Paul told the Galatians, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7NKJ).

Although wickedness thrived in every generation, it seems a huge crop of wickedness waves in the fields today.

 Yet, there is an answer. “Plant good seed. Connect with God and His mercy will change your life for the better. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jesus will pull with you!

Don’t forget this promise also, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John: 19.)

Copyright 2016 Ada Brownell