Is Having a Burden Beneficial?

Is it Better to Carry a Burden?

A younger Jacob used to be able to run quickly and freely to any destination he chose.
After that, he started to hobble around.

At one time, David was unchallenged as Israel’s military leader.
In the end, he ran for his life through the woods as his pursuers closed in.

Paul used to have a thorn-free side, and he used it to go about preaching.
In the end, he pleaded, knees bowed, for a mercy that never arrived.

It’s likely that many of us may think back to a time when ministry and life were easier.
We were more effective and less hampered back then.In general, we weren’t bothered by our bodies. We heard less negative comments. There had been no break in communication yet. But now we walk more slowly and stooped over than in the past. Limping. Surrounded. Thorned.

How alluring it is to think about how productive we could be if we were liberated from such constraints.
Wouldn’t our performance as parents, leaders, workers, and Christians improve if we had greater speed?
What more could we accomplish for the Kingdom of God?

Possibly Jacob, David, and Paul all had similar thoughts.
Weaknesses, such as a limp, or the flung spears or thorns that one might encounter, have a way of sabotaging any efforts toward efficiency and derailing any intended plans. Time, however, revealed God’s wisdom to be without question.
God used Jacob’s limp to draw him closer to him (Genesis 32:31), David’s adversaries became his fortress (Psalm 27:1), and Paul’s thorn to bring him a message sweeter than strength: “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Their experiences demonstrate how God’s grace can take unexpected turns.
“It is a fine thing to be without a trouble; but it is a better thing to have a trouble, and know how to gain grace enough to endure it,” Charles Spurgeon famously said in a sermon.

Negligible Stress Days

Take heed of the first piece of Spurgeon’s advice: it is wonderful to have no problems. Times of peace and quiet are like a relic from our utopian past, a hint to what is ahead. They provide shelter and food in the middle of the woods for weary travelers.
In times of calm, Jesus urges us to “get away by yourselves to a desolate spot and rest for a while” (Mark 6:31). They arrive as if one were unexpectedly transported to a land flowing with milk and honey, with its verdant pastures and placid streams. They are presents from the giver of all light (James 1:17).

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However, for folks like us, a string of calm days can backfire in the end. In his most relaxed states, Jacob showed himself to be independent and spiritually distant. David first laid eyes on Bathsheba on an untroubled rooftop, distant from the grounds of conflict (2 Samuel 11:1–2). Perhaps Paul might not be with us today if his heavenly visions had not served to humble him (2 Corinthians 12:7).

I think we’d both understand what you’re saying. Days without any major problems are both a blessing and a potential danger. When we don’t take precautions, even the calmest days can make us feel less of a need to read the Bible, pray desperately, avoid sin, fear Satan, value Jesus less, and generally disconnect us from spiritual reality. When things are calm, it’s easier to slack off at work and goof around on the roof.

Therefore, often the greatest threats to the mind are not responsibilities but rather unbroken benefits; not pains but rather everlasting pleasures; not worries but rather extended serenity; not suffering but rather unthreatened safety.
Neither the wealthy nor the comfortable find it easy to join God’s kingdom (Luke 18:24).

When Stress Is At Its Peak

Having a difficult life does not necessarily make one more spiritual. If good fortune is in the devil’s right hand, then misfortune must be in his left. For this reason, Spurgeon’s second piece of advice is as follows: “It is a better thing to have a trouble, and know how to gain grace enough to endure it.”
With God’s grace, we are able to withstand hardships that would otherwise crush us.

“Without God’s grace, our burdens will shatter us; with God’s mercy, they will bend us toward God.”

The question then becomes, from where can we draw the grace that not only makes difficult days bearable, but better?
God’s grace flows in countless channels, but it all begins and ends with his written word.
There is grace for every ailment, help for every hardship, and healing for every wounded heart in the words of the living God.
In light of this, it was a blessing that both crippled and restored Jacob (Genesis 32:29), a word of welcome that bolstered and encouraged David (Psalm 27:8), and a word of promise that gave the feeble Paul cause to boast (II Corinthians 12:9-10). (2 Corinthians 12:9–10).

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Just like countless other saints carrying heavy loads, these three men learned the invaluable lesson that God often entrusts his most precious possessions to those who are struggling the most.
Much of his Word was borne out of anguish, penned by prophets who were persecuted, psalmists who wept, and apostles who were thrown into jail.
Tears are shed throughout the Bible, but God is also revealed as the One who would one day dry them.
Thus, it is through adversity that we gain access to the richest of our Father’s comforts.

When all else seems to be in the dark, that’s when I find God’s word to shine the brightest.
Psalm 16: God’s love was revealed to me through the cruelty of another; Isaiah 50:1 was revealed to me in the gloom of uncertainty; Psalm 139:6 brought me closer to God; and Philippians 4:8 gave me glory after I experienced the pain of loss.

Your comforts help me feel better even when I have a lot going on in my head, as the psalmist puts it (Psalm 94:19).
What could be more comforting than to feel God’s hand on your shoulder, hear his voice express words of encouragement, and be supported by his mighty arm?
Yet, such priceless solace can only be earned via extensive suffering.
The cups into which God pours the consolation of his word are filled with many sighs, many laments, and many anxious thoughts.

Over time, they mature into the vessels from which we pour solace into the lives of those around us.

Higher Levels of Productivity

Then, God is willing to give his people responsibilities, even though they slow us down, disturb our tranquility, and appear to prevent us from being productive.
It’s easy for us to assume that God doesn’t place as much value on procreation as we do, but he actually places a much higher premium on it.
Simply said, his understanding of productivity is more nuanced than our own.

In my own life, I worry that the concept of fruitfulness is often just a sanitized version of productivity.
I can pretend that success in God’s kingdom is the same as success in man’s kingdom: well-laid plans, uncomplicated execution, and unimpeded achievement.
With that kind of efficiency, there’s not much place for limps, arrows, and thorns.
The reality, though, is that productivity is only a small fraction of genuine fruitfulness.

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Jacob, for one, would never have erected an altar “to the God who answers me in the day of my anguish” if he had never experienced difficulty (Genesis 35:3).
Also, David would not have learnt the lyrics, “Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not dread” (Psalm 27:3).
Even more so, Paul would not have said, “my flaws are something I boast about all the more” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Only adversity may bear the fruit of true humility, passionate faith, and painful pleasure in Jesus.

Trouble is the only environment in which the fruits of humility, passionate faith, and sorrowful delight in Jesus may fully mature.

These are the fruits we and others can eat with the most pride (2 Corinthians 1:3–4).
The best parents often have a little limp.
In fact, some of the most inspiring leaders are those whose own hearts have been attacked by the challenges of leadership.
Best workers often have a thorn in their side.
Furthermore, even the best Christians have a knack for attracting conflict everywhere they go.
Our greatest need, and the greatest gift we can give to others, is not a trouble-free existence, but rather a love for Jesus that perseveres and even grows stronger in the face of adversity.

God is so concerned with our productivity that he may temporarily cripple, encircle, or send a thorn in order to encourage us to bear fruit.

Praise be to the Ones Who Carry Heavy Loads!

I’d like to assume there’s a clear, wide path leading straight up to the clouds in heaven that I can go on without incident.
Without the prodding of adversity, I’d like to think I’d still be devoted to God.
Sometimes I wish I could paraphrase Paul’s words from Acts 14:22 to read, “We must reach the kingdom of God through many days of peace and prosperity.”

Some of God’s greatest blessings, however, come in the form of trials because they are intended for people with hearts like ours.
The thorns in his side symbolize the limps that lead us to Jesus, the enemies that drive us to God, and the strength that comes from the heavens.
They’re a pain in the neck at times.
And they shape us in the direction of the One whose unwavering love is more precious than life itself (Psalm 63:3).

So, as nice as trouble-free days are, walking with God through adversity is preferable.

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