Small Burdens

I’ve heard that victims of shark attacks can lose entire limbs and not feel that they’re gone at first.  Or that people who have been shot don’t always know what hit them.  I think most big stressors in life affect people that way.  The mind and body go into some sort of initial shock when a tragedy strikes so that the victim can survive.

Unfortunately we all feel paper cuts and splinters right away–and they’re annoying. 

It’s often the little things that take me down.  And this seems plain wrong when we’ve seen poverty at its most appalling, known friends of friends who have been beaten within an inch of their lives for sharing their personal stories with the wrong guy, talked to people utterly without hope.  But there it is.  I am still stressed out and full of unbelief in the face of insurance plans, car troubles, a dog that will not stay off the furniture.

I know that it shouldn’t be this way.  My mind fully grasps that it is ridiculous and absurd.  And I wish I didn’t know better, in some ways.  I wish I believed that the world was made up of one giant America and most people are doing OK, more or less.  That my little troubles are a big deal in the grand scheme and I have every right to be stressed out because, who wouldn’t? 

But I know that it isn’t true.  Some things are big and some things just aren’t.  So when that knowledge does not automatically make me a more grateful, serene, faith-filled person I’m sadder than ever.  Because it says something about my heart, and the message isn’t a pleasant one.  It means that I can go into emotional or physical shock when something very bad happens, and I can go through the motions and look brave, mostly unaware that my leg has been bitten off.  But when it’s a paper cut, heaven help me.

I am going on record this morning to express my extreme (temporary?) gratitude to the Lord Jesus for his concern with the big things and the little things in my life.  That he doesn’t look the other way in disdain when, for now, my biggest issue is how to get more vegetables into my kids’ diets, not whether they’ve gotten worms from the water.

Jesus said,

Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28 (ESV)

And that goes for those of us without legs and those with paper cuts.


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