Summary: Today's sermon is a part of our ongoing sermon series, "Spiritual First Aid." Today we're looking at how we can bear the burdens of this life.
Spiritual First Aid
“Bearing Life’s Burdens”
Burdens are a part of life. We all have our burdens to bear, no matter whether we’re rich or poor, young or old, the color of our skin, or whether we are saved or lost. Sorrow and trouble come alike to everyone, because burdens respect no one. Life places burdens on all of us: sorrow, tragedy, affliction, loss, disappointment, and death are all common realities.
Just as the sun rises on both evil and good, and the rain falls on both the just and unjust, Matthew 5:45, so burdens affects us all.
Burdens come in a large variety, some less intrusive while others literally take our breath away.
Webster’s defines a burden as something that is carried, which is usually heavy, but the weight is more a figure of speech, because of the emotional toll it produces which can be quite weighty, such as bearing the burden of a death, disability, sickness, disease, debt, and guilt to name a few.
Trying to find relief, people have been going about it the wrong way. They try self-medication that usually leads to addictions. They also turn to self-help books, gurus, and seminars that tend to exasperate the burden making it heavier to bear when all their methodologies fail. They tend to add additional burdens including guilt, shame, and financial.
In all these methods there is a common thread, it’s the word, “self.” We think we can do it on our own, that we don’t need anyone, not even God. But this sort of thinking only adds to the weight of an already heavy load.
If this is indeed the case, then how can we successfully bear life’s burdens?
Let me give this piece of comfort before we begin. God promises both rest and joy through the burdens of life.
“For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.” (Jeremiah 31:25 NLT)
There is an interesting story in the Bible. It’s about a woman who had a physical burden, an infirmity for 18 years.
“Now He (Jesus) was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up.” (Luke 13:10-11 NKJV)
Because she was so bent over and unable to raise up, some think that this woman had osteoporosis that produces a weakness within the body’s bones structure, which is often seen in those who walk hunched over. This very well may be the cause, and it is quite a burden to bear.
But in what Luke the physician describes, it may be related to an emotional or spiritual problem. Notice he calls it the “spirit of infirmity.” A spirit may have disabled this woman, and being too great to bear, she continued to walk with her eyes downcast, which after 18 years would have made this into a permanent physical condition.
This idea of it being a spiritual condition with physical consequences could also be attributed to the Apostle Paul who described his malady, his infirmity as “a thorn in the flesh … a messenger of Satan.” (2 Corinthians 12:7)
It would seem that this thorn, being metaphorical, could have been almost anything. Some of the more popular theories include a temptation, a chronic eye problem, malaria, or Alexander the coppersmith who did Paul great harm, 2 Timothy 4:14.
In short, burdens weigh us down including physical, emotional, spiritual, or a combination thereof. In other words the physical problem may be the result of an emotional or spiritual condition.
Let me just say that the heaviest of all burdens is sin.
This was actually Job’s question to God due to his physical state. He asked God, “Have I sinned? What have I done to You, O watcher of men? Why have You set me as Your target, so that I am a burden to myself?” (Job 7:20 NKJV)
Now, I’m not one to go around saying that the reason someone is sick is because of sin. That is one of those things that brings more harm and adds more burdens than most anything else. But to say that sin doesn’t play into our sickness is also doing harm.
This was something King David knew well.
“O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your wrath, nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure! For Your arrows pierce me deeply, and Your hand presses me down. There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger, nor any health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds are foul and festering because of my foolishness. I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are full of inflammation, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart.” (Psalm 38:1-8 NKJV)