Sunday, December 11, 2011

Baggage Handler

"Can I carry your bags, m'um?"

What a relief to give a heavy load to someone else to carry after having carried it for any length of time.  The longer you've carried it, the more of a relief it is when it's finally taken off your hands.

Some of us Christians have a great big load we carry around. A good bit of it has been handed to us by others in our pasts. Some of us have been forced to carry that load by the expectations placed on us by the church - or by one or more leaders in the church over a short (or longer) period.  Still others by our families.  Even more by a spouse or a child who is needy and dysfunctional.  Whatever the case, I would tend to argue that pretty much everyone has some sort of baggage.  

Jesus is the best baggage handler in the universe.  All we need to do - in response to His offer to take our burdens - is give them to Him.  Completely.  No strings, no hanging on, and no taking them back.  (Easier said than done).  The saying, "Let go and let God" is so true - and even though we say we have given Him our baggage, we end up picking it up again.  

Isaiah 61 contains a prophecy that was fulfilled in the hearing of the people of Nazareth when Jesus stood up to read it.  It's the one that starts out, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me ..." and part of that promise is, " give to those who mourn in Zion, to grant them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified."  (Is. 61:1 - 3)  

It's a straight trade.  We give Him our ashes - and then we gain His beauty.  We cannot have His beauty if we insist on hanging on to our ashes.  It doesn't work like that.  

I must admit I struggle with this.  I've gotten a lot of human comfort by hanging onto my ashes and having people pity me for the horrible predicaments and living conditions I have experienced. Including myself.  

But when I remember that His beauty is better... when I let go of the need to play the victim and get people to try to fix me (leaving that to Him because it's HIS job) then He handles my baggage and I am able to know peace, gratitude, love.  To the extent that I let go, I will find that He takes over not only the care of my baggage - but He unpacks it too.

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