On Being a Particular Pack Mule

God fits the back for the burden.

-Irish proverb

There is the weight of the everyday. The irksome crumbs all splayed over the counters where lunches were packed with all sorts of fits and starts.  The treadmill of laundry and the marathon of assigning dust to it’s place.  Imposing shalom on jumbles and smudges and the trailing remains from where one child read, or took off shoes, or cut paper, or such and such.

That is part of the burden, but not the bulk weight of it.

How is it that the invisible burdens are so much heavier than the ones in plain and frequent sight?  The inner fight of, and fondness for, sin.  The niggling question mark in my mother heart; do my children see God?  Do they long for Him at all?  Will they respond to His love with a life-long faith?  The agonizing examines at day’s end:  Oh, God, are you pleased with me at all?  Am I meeting Your expectations?  Am I hearing you right?

That is part of the burden, a large part.

There is also the corporate bit, the deep concern over the Church, that it shine with the gospel’s pure light, that it offer sound teaching and true water to thirsty souls.  That it not mash-up with the pervading culture’s mores to make the good news more round and less definite.  To smudge the stark lines and make of the Word a sea of gray.

That feels like the straw too many and my knees tremble under the load.

Fortunately, God “fits the back for the burden”.  He strengthens trembling knees and shores up the sagging spine.  He smiles into the face of the mule bent low and whispers, “Arise, strong one, I give you my strength”.

What can I say to Him?

When He who so lovingly burdens me, so lovingly encourages me, so lovingly shores me up?  What but, “Oh!  Amen!”

burden

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