Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Strength comes from working the muscles....

I was stopped today in my prayer time by one thing in particular that I felt my heart cry out for...something that is dear to me and I felt as if God was bringing it to surface today for individual "special" prayer time and as a teaching moment for myself.  As I prayed, I began to ask God to help to lift some of the heaviness, some of the weight off of this individual.  But, then my prayer turned...my eyes were opened to something else...
      See, I started to think about how we use our muscles and if we do not use a muscle for a long period of time, that muscle will start to waste away.  In order to keep that muscle strong, you must use it and exercise it.  The more that muscle group is used, the stronger it becomes.  The more you deny that muscle group any type of "heaviness", the more it waste away and becomes "UN-use-able".  So, my prayer changed and I began to ask God not to remove all of the weight from the individual, and not to take away all of the "worries" in their lives, because I believe that we need to carry some weight sometimes in order to keep our muscles strong. 
     This doesn't mean that God will not help you carry some of the weight of this world and help you to move about in life, but if we ask Him to totally take away the heaviness and worries, then are we depriving ourselves of being strengthened? 
Some things come into our lives to train us and mold us....yes, to be more like Him.  Sometimes the heaviness of this world (with our family, our work, our children, and spouses, our loved ones, health issues, financial burdens, etc) may be allowed into our lives to teach us new ways to handle them and to strengthen us in the process of dealing with them.  God is there to help hold them when they become too heavy. 
Just like at the gym...some weights are too heavy for us to lift and we need a "spotter" to watch over us as we lift them to make sure they don't come crashing down onto our chest.  God is that "spotter"...ready to lift the weight off or to relieve a bit of its pressure by placing His finger under the weight to help you to bring it all the way up and place it back onto the holder.  But, what if God constantly lifted the weight, brought it down to our chest, and then lifted it back up onto the holder while we just laid there on the bench?  Would we grow in strength?  Would our muscles become stronger?  No, we wouldn't benefit at all from it.  Our muscles, if not used, will waste away and become limp and brittle and eventually break apart.
      God is the all consuming, all knowing, all present God.  He is there when we need Him, the very minute that we need Him.  He will not allow us to be crushed.  His word says to "Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken" (Psalm 55:22).
He will sustain us...sometimes we need to carry some of the burdens, and ask God to show us how to carry them, how to move in them, and how to react to them appropriately.  We can learn so much if we are open to being taught. 
So my prayer began to change.  I began to cry out for God to not lift the weight completely off, but to allow the weight to be used for Him to teach this individual how to act in it with all of its heaviness and for this individual to be strengthened, and to grow stronger in the Lord and to draw closer to Him in the process.  And when the weight is too much for them to carry, then God is there to sustain them.  The definition of sustain is  "to support, hold, or bear up from below; bear the weight of, as a structure"(dictionary.com).  The Hebrew word for sustain is "saad" which is also translated as "to support, sustain, stay".  God can support the weight without totally taking it completely away.Whatever it is that you are carrying today, whatever you feel is weighing you down...ask God to show you why you are feeling this way and how you can be strengthened through it. 
     God is right here waiting to sustain you and ready to teach you how to be strengthened...just ask.