Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Burden of Love

Some days, I carry a heavy burden on my shoulders.  As I focus on college things, like all-nighters and rounds of coffee and buying new textbooks, I am often plagued with guilt.  There is a child right now living on the street with an aching stomach, literally dying of hunger, and here I am in line for Happy Hour at Sonic while studying for an exam for a class I don't even like.  And the burden grows heavier.

In January, I caught the flu.  My fever gradually inclined throughout the night hours until I woke around four in the morning, caught in a vivid dream I confused with reality.  Several ghostly African girls stood around my bed.  They clutched at my blankets, asking over and over, "Why didn't you help me?  Why didn't you help me?"  It took me far too long to entirely wake, and when I did, I was shaking so hard that I could hardly swallow the aspirin that would ease my fever.

The weight of the burden I place upon myself is heavier than I realize.

As clearly as I have been called by God to serve the hungry, I often get something completely wrong.  My call to love orphans is not meant to be a terrible burden.  When Jesus called me to look after orphans and widows in their distress, He didn't want the overflow of love from His heart to cause nightmares and anxiety and feelings of hopelessness at the state of brokenness of this earth.  These things are of a self-imposed burden, not of the Lord's call.

What I often forget is that Christ did not ask me to single-handedly end poverty.  He did not ask me to stand up and change the world.  And while this is a romantic, thrilling challenge, it is not what I was called to do.  God's love changes the world.  No human effort can ever come close to comparing.  I was only called to love and to serve in the joyous hope that His glory will shine throughout the nations.  And it will.

I was not called to end poverty, but I was called to serve the poor.  I was not called to feed every starving child on this planet, but I was called to look after orphans.  As long as we live on a broken earth, there will be poverty.  I am here to serve as long as my heart is beating, but placing the weight of the world on my shoulders will do nothing but spend me until every part of me crumbles.

The calling on my life was meant to be a source of freedom.  My life has been filled with so much love and so many blessings.  My heart is full to the point of overflow.  Jesus is merely allowing me to love others because He loves them and His Spirit is in me.  He is allowing me to be used as an instrument for His love, and this is an honor.  The fact that the God of the universe is allowing my hands and my heart to be used for serving others is precious.

Now, let me clarify.  The fact that there are starving children in this world should bring sorrow.  If it breaks the heart of God, it should break my heart as well.  But having a burden of grief for the ones who are lost is different than carrying a burden of complete responsibility on my shoulders.  Ultimately, I should feel joy, hope, and freedom because Christ's love is victorious.  

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  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." 

Three years ago: Loss: The Initial Shock
Two years ago: Prank War: Ambushed
One year ago: The Explanation

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