Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Life-giving Burdens

Burdens. Usually, we don’t want them. We often associate them with things that are oppressive and life draining. But there are also burdens that come from God—burdens that are life-giving. The biblical leader Nehemiah was given one of those life-giving burdens.
Nehemiah had a high-end job. He served as the cupbearer to the king of Persia. This job was only given to one who could be trusted. Not only would the king’s life be in Nehemiah’s hands, Nehemiah was willing to give up his life to save the king.
We are told, in Nehemiah 1:3, that he was given an account of the condition of Jerusalem. This report sent Nehemiah into a godly tailspin. He became overwhelmed by the problem. His response in 1:4 reads, “As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”
When you read the story further, you realize that Nehemiah was set up by God. Follow the sequence. Nehemiah felt overwhelmed by the burden. The burden drove him to prayer. Through prayer, God answered and sent Nehemiah on a mission to repair the wall and the soul of the city. God then used Nehemiah to bring about His plan of rebuilding the wall.
God gave the burden to Nehemiah because He wanted use Nehemiah to bring about His answer. Nehemiah didn’t feel used by God. He was blessed by God and was so thankful to see God’s work.
Nehemiah had a burden that felt oppressive at first but which, in the end, was life-giving. He got to see God at work.
I don’t know about you, but I want that type of burden from God. I want God to place on me a deep, overwhelming desire to see His Kingdom wall rebuilt.
Why, you ask? Because I know what will happen if God places that burden on me. I want to go before Him in prayer. I want to see Him answer in ways that only He could. I want to be used by Him to bring about His desires. I want to see His Kingdom grow. And if that means I need to spend some time in mourning and weeping…well, I’ve got one thing to say.
Bring it on, God! Bring it on! Please throw the burden on my shoulders!

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