I was thinking today of all the "things" I try to juggle in life. Responsibilities as a husband. Responsibilities as a dad. Responsibilities as a pastor. There is just so much to do, things to get done! Then, add on top of the "to do list" the weight of all the expectations. Whether it's true or not, I sense that different people expect that I'll attend certain events, that I'll give attention to certain details, that I'll 'be there' when they're in need. And, of course, there is the expectation that I live in a god-pleasing way.

There are my worries and fears. There are my regrets. There are all the ways that people have hurt me ... and all the pain and resentment that go along with that. There are the tragedies and losses that are part of living in a broken world. There are my dreams for the future ...... Each one of those things is just huge, if you think about it.  And I'm trying to juggle all of them. But honestly, how in the world can I keep it all going?! How can I keep all the balls in the air?!

There is that statement you always hear people say:  "God will not give you more than you can handle." Supposedly that's in the Bible somewhere. Somehow that's supposed to be a comfort.

Let me just say it:  NONSENSE!! People say that's what the Bible says. But it doesn't! And I think it's actually quite the opposite of what the Bible teaches. True, 1 Corinthians 10 says "he will not let you be TEMPTED beyond what you can bear." But I don't believe the Bible teaches that our BURDENS will be limited to what we can bear.

I have friends whose children have died tragically. I have friends whose spouses died way too young ... and so they're left to raise their children as widows. I have friends who carry the weight of betrayal (a cheating spouse or an abusive relative), the deep pain of addiction (alcohol, drugs, pornography), and the shame of failure (businesses they couldn't keep going, children who have walked away from their faith). Every single one alone WAY BEYOND what they can carry themselves! Yet God, in His wisdom, allows those burdens in their lives.

Why?? I can't fully say, because I am not God; and the Bible does say that His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55). But I believe that in part, God allows those burdens (that are bigger than our ability to carry or juggle them) SO THAT WE HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO TRUST IN HIM AND NOT IN OURSELVES.

From the beginning of the Bible to the end -- it seems from my reading -- there is ONE THING God asks of us:  TRUST.  It is why He used a runt named Gideon ... why He chose the scrawny kid named David ... why He called a pride-filled murderer named Paul. Anything they accomplished was not by their own strength or knowledge or wisdom but by GOD'S POWER.

I don't know what you're burdened by today. But I know what I'm facing. And I am thankful for His invitation (1 Peter 5:7): "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." And I hold on to His promise (Psalm 146:5): "BLESSED is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God." So I'm listening to His words of wisdom (Proverbs 3:5-6): "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge HIM, and he will make your paths straight."


I don't know much about him. Not even sure if he's still alive. And I'm pretty certain he has no idea who I am or that he had such a powerful impact in my life. I only know him as "Pastor Lange"; and that in the mid-90's he was a guest preacher at a Lutheran church in Muncie, Indiana. I wasn't a member there. Hardly ever went to worship there. For all of high school and college I hardly ever went to any church, but I had grown up in a Lutheran church. So when I was struggling with life ... I went to check out the nearest Lutheran church.

Pastor Lange was filling in that day ... and as a preacher, he probably had his routine. He had obviously been doing this for years. He preached on Luke 15, the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin. And afterward, he went back home to wherever home was (which I think was out of state). Maybe it was the only time he ever preached in that church, I don't know. Probably he has long forgotten that sermon. But I haven't!

Pastor Lange shared these words of Jesus (v.10): "In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Angels ... REJOICING! Over one sinner ...... over ME! Those words touched my spirit in a way that few words ever have. Those words ignited a fire in me that ultimately led me to be a preacher myself ... and to devote my whole life to touching the lives of other people with the GOOD NEWS that Jesus loves them too ... and throws a party in heaven when they come to Him!!

Something sparked that memory in me today ... and got me thinking of all the unheroic things we do every day. Things we don't think much about ... but just may be the spark that ignites faith in someone.

Jesus told his disciples: "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Mt. 5:16). Perhaps it is as simple as a word of encouragement to a coworker or a shoulder for a friend to cry on. A small gift or a random act of kindness to a stranger. Maybe a prayer with your six-year-old who woke up scared from a dream. I believe it doesn't have to be big ... just letting the grace of Christ shine through you. But who knows! Maybe it's the spark that ignites a spiritual fire in someone ... and you won't know it ... until they run to thank you in heaven someday.