It was a gloomy, gray morning and my heart was feeling the same. Walking drearily in the sprinkling rain, I asked Jesus, “What did you do when your heart was burdened?”
At first I was reminded that Jesus did what all of us do, since he too, was fully human. He cried. He worried. He prayed. He talked to friends. He walked and pondered just like I do. But he had much more to tell me.
God in all wisdom made the world perfectly imperfect. There will be storms and hardships, conflicts and illnesses in every life. We learn and gain precious gifts through these trials. If you can imagine a world without pain or sorrow, a “perfect” world in which you had no needs or concerns, a world in which everything was provided for your enjoyment, what would you miss? You would miss such gifts as strength for the struggle. Hope in times of despair. Comfort in grief. Patience in waiting. Forgiveness in regret. Joy in sorrow. Peace in uncertainty. Perseverance through challenges.
You well know that God works to make good in every situation. Through our own trials, we are then enabled to work with God to make life better for others. God’s companionship is extended through our companionship with one another. In helping one another through the difficult times, and working for the good of others, all of the burdens of life would be greatly reduced.
God does not specifically choose when and where someone is going to be burdened. God DOES know us all so well and God is timeless, so God knows what will happen in our lives. But God does not orchestrate them.
I think I understood: “Like God KNEW you would get killed, Jesus, because people would not understand you, and fear and hatred would win the day. God didn’t orchestrate your death or need you to die. God only knew that you would.”
And God knew your body would make cancer but God didn’t arrange for this to happen. God would seize this opportunity to show you love and compassion and healing and power in your life, way more than you ever anticipated. In those moments when you were open to God’s movement, you profoundly found this to be true.
And then there was this…
When you die to yourself, you do not die to joy. In fact, in dying to yourself- to have no personal expectation except to love and follow me as best you can- you will experience a deep abiding joy that outshines any burdens that come your way. The more you look at all of life as a gift, learn to embrace the difficulties with a sense of openness, and remain willing to learn and grow, your life will become more fully abundant and dearly treasured.