The world around us, which promises so much, isn’t making any significant deposits into my joy account these days. In fact, it’s been quite a drain recently. I suppose that much of it is linked to the economy and, of course, the continually rising price of fuel. Just when the economic outlook begins to brighten, chaos erupts in the Middle East, creating an unnerving sense of instability all across the globe.
But this isn’t all we’re dealing with! Consider the following: Massive federal debt with extreme partisanship and no viable solutions. Local and state governments struggling to stay afloat. The gap between rich and poor continuing to widen. Global warming and natural disasters. New diseases and ineffective antibiotics. Continued moral decay in all facets of society. The collapse of the nuclear family. Increased violence. A broken educational system. A declining Church.
The mention of each issue (and they are brought up continually) gives the feel of yet another weight being piled upon our already strained shoulders. Add on other concerns and the burden can at times seem unbearable.
A primary problem is that these are burdens we were never meant to carry—at least not in the form of worry or anxiety.
Isaiah prophesied of the coming of Christ: “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders . . . .” Isaiah 9:6 (NASB)
This is really good news, but it does bring some questions to light. I mean, if you look at the state of our world, it may not seem like He knows what He is doing. This is where our understanding of the kingdom of God is crucial.
While I don’t believe that God directly controls all that takes place in this world, He does reign, ultimately steering even negative forces toward His sovereign purposes.
A huge problem arises, however, when humans try to usurp God’s authority by seeking to control their own lives and all that’s around them. The sad state of our world is due to man’s quest for control and independence from God. Unfortunately, this is exactly what we are doing when we carry the weight of the world on our backs. We’re trying to shoulder burdens that only God can bear. (Herein lies the power and beauty of the Lord’s Prayer)
The result of our independence? Pain. Frustration. Worry. Anxiety. Exhaustion. A withering faith.
“And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world [Or age ] and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” Matthew 13:22 (NAS)
Christ is speaking here of Christians—people who willingly receive God’s word. Ouch!
So how do we shed the weight of unnecessary burdens? Some choose the road of irresponsibility, developing an “I don’t care” attitude. This approach, however, is totally inconsistent with God’s heart.
1 Peter 5 is a chapter well worth reading in its entirety, but I’ll just quote verses 6 & 7: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (NASB)
Surrender control of your concerns to God.
Pray for Him to work in each particular situation.
Believe that He will do awesome things according to His good will.
You may feel lighter already but the secret is learning to do this as a way of life!