When distress, heartache, and weakness overwhelm us

Are you distressed this morning? Does your heart ache over troubles in this world? Are you confronted at every turn by your weakness? Do you wonder if God is punishing you because of your failures and shortcomings? Perhaps you think others look at you sideways and think to themselves, “He’s got no one but himself to blame.”

Two thoughts, from God’s lips to your ears:

— Someone else has already carried this burden; you don’t need to shoulder it yourself. People thought Messiah was being punished for his own sins, when in fact “he was beaten so we could be whole; he was whipped so we could be healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5) Give over your weak, weary, burdened heart to Jesus. Why would anyone continue to lug around a load that someone else already has carried to its destination? Jesus offers you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

— Your suffering is not meaningless. In the Upside-Down Kingdom, troubles are an opportunity for joy. In the moment, the weight is hard to bear, but the Lord will use the trouble to refine your faith and increase your endurance, so his work in you can be completed. (James 1:2-4) And when you suffer because you are seeking the Kingdom, the pain takes on a cosmic significance. Paul said he was glad to suffer for the advancing Kingdom, because that meant he was participating in the continuing sufferings of Christ himself on behalf of his body, the church. (Colossians 1:24)

Dear brothers and sisters, the Lord himself said we will have many trials and sorrows here on earth. He told us that so we can have peace in him. When it feels like the world is about to overcome you, Jesus whispers in your ear: “Take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

About Mark Kelly

Jesus follower, Bible reader, husband/father/son/brother/uncle, rider, hiker, snapshooter
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