On July 15, 1960, in Los Angeles, California during his acceptance speech the then-Democratic Presidential nominee John F. Kennedy, said “We stand today on the edge of a new frontier … but the new frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises – it is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them.”
Life is a continual set of challenges, problems, and annoyances. You may often believe if you could just deal with the immediate challenge that you are facing, all your problems would be over. But life is not designed like that. When you resolve one problem, others are already knocking on your door. Is there a person in this world past or present who has never felt the weight of a burden? Burdens are a part of life. If you ever come to the place of being completely burdened free, you will have reached Heaven. Until then expect burdens. The key to bearing burdens is in learning how to be rid of the unnecessary ones.
As I read today, I was reminded that the relatively minor challenges, problems, and hassles that I face are nothing compared to what the people of God have faced in the past, and still, face around the world today. The Bible is true to life. The psalmist faced pain and distress. Paul faced false accusation and the frustration of being kept in prison on trumped-up charges. The kings in the Old Testament faced battles and a massive building project challenge.
While God is always there to help and provides you the opportunities to be surrounded by others to shoulder the burdens of life, you have a duty to do your part of solving your problems and meeting your obligations. You need to take primary responsibility for your own life; this is one reason you have “Free Will.” Reliance upon God and help from others is not a substitute for lack of insight, industry, or ingenuity on your part. Besides most of the time if you are honest with yourself your burdens are of your own crafting. The key to bearing your own burdens is in learning how to be rid of the unnecessary ones. Some burdens are to be shed, some shared, while others are to be shouldered.
In Psalm 55:22 the Psalmist illustrates how to shed your burdens as he explains how the Lord invites us to cast [throw] our burdens on Him that He might sustain us. The word “burden” carries the idea of that which has been allotted. Therefore, whatever the situation and struggle in life we can go to God and ask for the grace necessary to handle that which God has allotted. The promise evidenced is not to save us from the burdens and blows of life, but to sustain us in them.
Paul in Galatians 6:1-2 talks about sharing the burdens when he calls the church to come alongside the hurting, the wounded, and the fallen and nurse them back to spiritual health and strength. There is to be compassion not condemnation. There is to be restoration, not rejection. We are not to bury our wounded but to come alongside them and share their burdens.
As you make your way through life, sometimes you will need to carry our own bags, you will need to take primary responsibility for your own life. Paul continues in Galatians 6:5 to remind Christians to bear his own load. Interestingly, this is the picture of the Roman Soldier carrying his backpack. In the normal course of life, the Christian is to lift their assigned gear. The Christian is someone who gladly does his or her part at home, church, work, within their community, simple anywhere they are. While God is always there to help, you must not allow the challenges of life to prevent you from carrying out the ministry God has given you.
There are no problems associated with life because life itself is the problem.