We all have burdens to carry. Some are heavy. Some are not as heavy.
But some burdens are literal. Like the time I decided to purchase 50 pounds of peaches from Georgia. Being from Pennsylvania, we don’t get a treat like this often, and when I learned the peaches were being sold in a town near me, I made it my mission to purchase two boxes.
I did not realize that each box would weigh twenty five pounds. Actually, I did know that. It just didn’t register in my brain until they were placed in my outstretched arms.
Once they were in my possession, I had to walk three blocks, up a hill, to my car. With each step, the weight of the boxes became heavier.
I took twenty steps and stopped, looking for a place to set the boxes down. There wasn’t any.
I took another twenty steps and stopped again. I looked up the hill for my car. It seemed so far away. I sighed and continued walking.
I came to a crosswalk and waited to cross the street. My failing arms screamed in agony. If only I had an Aaron and Hur to hold my arms up like they did for Moses during war with the Amalekites.
Then I looked up to the sky and asked God for help.
Instantly, the clouds parted, voices of angels sang in my ears, and I heard a voice. It was deep and strong. It was God. He was speaking to me.
Ok, it didn’t happen exactly like that. But I did hear a voice and it was instant. It was a man walking towards me from across the street. “Can I help you with those?” he asked.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)
Relief washed over me as he took the boxes. My arms were numb but relieved. The stranger graciously carried them to my car. I thanked him and waved as he headed off to buy his own peaches.
When I asked for help from God that morning, I did not believe than he would help. It’s not because of a lack of faith. It was because I didn’t feel I deserved his help.
Here I was standing in the morning, summer heat carrying more weight than I could handle. It was my own fault. I chose to purchase the peaches knowing how much they weighed. And I chose to park my car far away. I got myself into this mess and had to take all the credit for my predicament.
I did not think God would be interested in helping someone whose burden was of her own doing and so small compared to others who carried much heavier ones.
But he did.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:15-16 (NIV)
We see God’s grace in action when he led the Israelites into the Promised Land. He did not do it because they deserved it. They complained and worshiped false gods, yet God fed, protected, and led them to the land he promised Abraham. All because of His grace.
Jesus knows our struggles and failures, both big and small. And it is through him that God’s grace is given to us.