Blessings Not Curses
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The following principle may be a little difficult to understand, but once understood it can release us from a multitude of burdens.
Remember the old song, “Take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there”? Much of the time our “burden” is someone with whom we are associated. We want God to change that person, to make him “fit in” with us and our plans. But no matter how much we want that transformation, it often does not happen.
Here is something we can do. If we release that person to the Lord, we invite Him to do the work. In a way, God becomes our agent! But it is often extremely difficult for us to do the releasing part. And sometimes our efforts are half-hearted.
God is very clear about what He wants us to do with all our problems. He says, Cast all your care upon Him; for He careth for you (I Peter 5:7). Christ’s gift to us is His willingness to carry our burdens. He does not offer to solve the problems that we insist on carrying ourselves. So, if we are burdened about someone, it may mean that we are still trying to make changes by our own efforts.
This is true whether we love, fear or dislike the person who has become a problem to us. If our minds keep dwelling upon someone’s faults, we may delay those needed changes. We often feel that we are responsible to “do something,” but if we do not know anything constructive that we could do, we often resort to our old friend, “Worry.”
Every individual in your life is a God-given opportunity. They may seem to be exactly the opposite, but since it is possible, why not permit God to make them a blessing to you? If we feel helpless to change those who irritate us, God has provided us a perfect opportunity to trust Him rather than our own resources.
David is a striking example. He didn’t know what to do about Saul, so David turned to God to do whatever needed to be done. Although he had sufficient reasons and opportunities to kill Saul, David would not do so. Saul rewarded David’s goodness toward him by trying to murder him. Saul sometimes wanted David to be his friend, but within a short time he would try to kill him. God rewarded David’s patient trust in Him eventually making him the most powerful and influential man in his world.
We all have, or will have, a Saul in our lives. Our Saul may praise us today and hate us tomorrow. We need to remember that God permitted Saul to rule and reign over Israel until David had completed his time of testing.
As David was tested, you and I are to be tested. If we fail one test, we will need others, and others … God is persistent. He is determined to do whatever is necessary to help us become what He wants us to be. Hebrews 5:8 says, Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered. Like it or not, suffering often helps us to become more like Jesus.
You may know who your Saul is. If you don’t, cheer up, he will come along in due time. When he does, don’t be discouraged if you struggle with your emotions and with your faith. The more difficult our situation the greater our victory can be! Jesus was God’s ultimate illustration of how He can take every circumstance and every person and make them work for our good. (Reprint from October 1996)