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Photo taken at an orphanage in Latvia

We normally don’t think of burdens as blessings. Jesus did say, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Who doesn’t need some rest? And yet, Jesus goes on to say, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30). Jesus tells us that by coming to him we can find rest from our burdens but then turns around and says his burden is light.

Some burdens not worth carrying. The burdens placed on us by the world is what Jesus has comes to relieve us from: the burden to please, strive for success, and work for recognition. The burden of always being first, having the best, or defining ourselves by others are the burdensome things Jesus says he will give us rest from.

Jesus did not come to relieve us of all burdens; rather, he comes offering us burdens that can be turned into blessings. He came to give us a burden worth bearing. As we step outside of ourselves and serve others, we begin to acquire a burden that is beyond ourselves. It is a great thing to be caught up into something that takes us beyond ourselves. A burden placed on us by the Lord gives significance to our rather ordinary lives.

What is your divine burden? What makes your heart ache? I have discovered that one of the primary ways that God directs our lives is not through a voice but rather through the burdens we cannot shake. If you are a follower of Jesus, He has given you a burden, a cause, and a purpose that won’t let you go. God has blessed you with a burden. He has placed within you a divine hurt that is intended to spur you into action.

When Nehemiah was told about the poor conditions surrounding Jerusalem, we are told his heart broke. The bible says when he heard of the brokenness he “sat down and wept and mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven” (Nehemiah 1:4). What breaks your heart? Have you asked that your heart be broken for the things that breaks the heart of God?

May God bless us with a burden toward injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people. Amen.

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