[bl]I[/bl] continue to dwell on this idea of being fed. On why I’m afraid to feel hungry or empty.
We misquote Scripture when we encourage the hurting or empty or anxious with the phrase, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Emptiness, suffering and the pouring out of life ought to be expected in those who follow Jesus into the brokenness of man. God never promises that the load will be light. He doesn’t promise an easy journey. Or limited participation because we don’t think we’re capable of more.
In fact, he says our load to carry is a cross. The heavy burden of sin. And death. Death of selfish dreams and expectations. Of sinful behavior and worldly habits. In order that God will resurrect new life in us. And this is no light load. If we live like Jesus and literally pour our life into others, allowing them to partake of who we are and what we have to offer through Jesus – we will be continually emptied. And it will seem like more than we can handle.
But the yoke of God is easy and his burden light – not because a life following him is easy – but because he calls us not to carry it alone. The burdensome journey of living life for others is made light through surrendering to Jesus and walking with a community.
We are afraid to push our limits. Maybe we don’t want to see what we’re really made of. Crumbling under pressure and reaching the point of exhaustion is considered weakness in our eyes. But what if instead we looked to those moments as opportunities to recognize our need for a provider. A Creator who will pour back into us. A community who will help restore us.
In our weakness, he is made strong. So let us be weak! If God is made known through our weakness, our failures, our inabilities – let us embrace those realities as a chance to respond in ways that glorify God by allowing his goodness, strength and provisions to speak to who he is.
I’m afraid, however, that we don’t really know how to turn to God for fulfillment. We know how to look to food and media. We know how to walk into Target and leave feeling better. We know how to fill our life with stuff. But how do we look to God to restore us? To carry our burdens? To give us more than we can handle so we can learn to rely on him?
Body of Christ, we are God’s plan for redemption. We are the continuation of the ministry of Jesus on this earth. If our hands aren’t helping, if our lips aren’t speaking truth, if our feet won’t go – who else is going to do it?
We can spend our life stuck in the routine where eating, schooling, and working are the urgent responsibilities that shape our schedule and dictate our time and energy. OR we can spend our time on earth available to the redemptive work of God. This doesn’t require that we abandon routine. For brokenness oozes from these places of school and work and home. There are plenty of opportunities to embrace more right where we are.
It’s a change of perspective that needs to happen. It’s looking at the systems and routines of the world as secondary. And our participation in God’s ministry as primary. For ministry is what we have been created for. We’ve been given an identity of holy priests – a people who stand in the gap between God and the world. A people who represent and reflect to all others who God is and what he’s come to do. But rather than living into this identity, like Israel, we’re slaves to the economical, social and political systems of this world.
Like people delivered from slavery into freedom, may God take us from this place of bondage, into new ways of living and relating as his chosen people.
It’s no easy life. Great responsibility and heartache surround this divine task. It’s public. It’s vulnerable. It’s risky. It’s intimidating. And it’s more than we can handle.
But by the grace of God, he will redemptively and creatively work in and through us that we might accomplish mighty things for his Kingdom.
But we must first decide who we are living for. What we are living for. May God give us the courage to embrace more of him, less of us. May he equip us, empower us. May it be his will that orders our time and energy. And his spirit that breathes life into the people and places we pour into. And when we’re tired. When we’re hungry. When we need a break. When we’re overwhelmed or anxious. When it all seems like too much to handle…..may he find us rest. And give us strength. May he pour life into our ever emptying body and soul.
And may we hear his words of encouragement through the lips of those speaking to us. May we stop and listen to his promptings. May we breathe in grace and exhale worship. May we snuggle up with his word and consume music that fills our soul.
What God has to offer is more than enough. Let us live like we believe that.
Embrace more. Increase. Give more. Be risky. Go.
He will handle it.
#376 six months of amazing weather
#377 The colors, the cool breeze, the anticipation of another season
#378 The listening and waiting for God to unfold the story
#379 A boy
#380 Cousins being neighbors for a weekend
#381 A husband who labors with his boys
#382 Morning time with Myles
#383 Having Tom home
#384 The first pumpkin bread of the season