Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalm 55:22
The Olympics. What an inspiring few weeks. Watching athletes who have trained for months, some years in their various talents to strive for gold is amazing to watch and behold.
These men and women, of all races, ages, and backgrounds have defeated many obstacles. Have shed some heavy burdens. Must train. Practice. Be disciplined daily in order to earn a spot on the most elite team.
Their training happens on the field. In the gym. On the beam. In a pair of skates. The court. They lift weights. They run. Swim laps. Build muscle. Stamina. Endurance. All the human strength possible to achieve the ultimate prize: gold.
My “race” this week was certainly not of the Olympic variety, but I had prepared diligently for it. Done my research. Practiced. Hit the gym, so to speak. Skated in the waters of number crunching. Phone call making. Calling in favors. Crisis management and prevention.
I used my human wisdom. My fancy earthly given knowledge. My human talents, and all my human strength.
Until I hit a brick wall. And all that human strength I thought I had…crashed and broke into a billion worthless and weak pieces.
And, I wanted to quit the race. Not show up. Cancel my membership to the gym. Throw the skates away. Leave the ball in the court, and not worry about who picked it up next.
But…I still had a race to prepare for…even with a crappy attitude. As I slammed down the simple snack that was supposed to drive home the message of “strength” that God’s Olympians possessed. As I grumbled over the pretzel stick and marshmallow that was supposed to represent the dumbbell that my poor, scrawny arms often lacked the strength to lift or carry. As I reluctantly prepared to train future Olympians in His race, I saw it…the key verse for the week:
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
The very same verse that I had tattooed on my arm as a daily reminder of His strength that doesn’t live in these scrawny arms, but in my heart. My soul. My mind.
The same verse that I often forget to turn to when those dumbbells start to weigh me down again.
Those weights of sin. Rejection. Comparison. Loneliness. Fear.
When I feel the weight and pressure of the world and I turn to the wisdom of books, or of others before Him. I realized then, I didn’t need the rest of this lesson plan at all. I was living it. That very day.
Because through my human desire to do it all on my own, my temper tantrum, a simple treat, and tattoo these kids learned about strength not found on the Olympic track.
They learned (well, the ones that were not stuffing pretzels in their ears, or seeing how much of that marshmallow they really could stuff in their mouth….remember…I said kids…) that even Christians have “dumbbells” they carry around. That their pastor had carried some, too-ALL.DAY.LONG. That we are human. That we rely on our human strength. And because of this we will have burdens that are far too heavy.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11: 28,30
Oh, and I told them that, too.
That they didn’t have to carry all that weight around anymore.
And, so they dropped it. And, so did I.
Rejection. Bullying. Sin. Negativity. Disobedience. Loneliness.
And, I for one…feel so much lighter. And a little stronger and ready for the next “race” I know He has prepared for me.
So, I ask you this? What weight are you carrying that your arms just can no longer bear to carry? What are you trying to handle with your own strength? And, why are you still trying to carry it anyway? Drop the dumbbell. Just give the weight to Him.