Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Don't Pick up the Load Until . . .

I just finished reading the classic "The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom. In it, there's a little story that was so wonderful. Corrie and her daddy were on the train together - just the two of them, allies among a train load of strangers. She had been pondering a question, but wasn't brave enough to ask anyone else in the family but her daddy, because she knew he would be completely honest with her. The question was, "Daddy, what's a sex sin?" Wise man that he was, he knew the question was beyond her years, so he said nothing at all. They were near the end of their trip, and she thought he had simply forgotten her question. He hadn't. When they were ready to get off the train, he said, "Corrie, pick up my bag and carry it for me, please." She tried, but the bag was much too heavy. Finally, having to admit defeat, she dropped the bag. "Daddy, I can't carry it. It's too heavy for me." "Yes, Corrie, I know. And the answer to your question is to heavy for you to carry as well. You must trust me to give you the answer when you're strong enough to carry it." These aren't direct quotes, but the essence of the story is there.

The other day, I was driving along with my younger grandchildren. One of the girls was sitting in the front seat, while the other three children were in the back. Knowing they couldn't hear her (or didn't care), she said, "Granny, my legs are going to be as hairy as a bear before I'm old enough to shave them!" After I picked up my lower jaw, I said, "Honey, I'm sure you think it looks much worse than anyone else does." "Yes, but look, Granny. Look how hairy!" It's hard to deny the truth, but I managed to skillfully evade the issue, and we moved on with the conversation.

Later in the day, I was thinking about how old I probably was when I began shaving my legs. A little more than my granddaughter's 10 years, but not much. I'm hoping no little boy mentions her hairy legs to her, because she would be devastated. In the meantime, I don't want to give her any burdens to carry that are too heavy. I don't want her to grow up too quickly. Childhood lasts such a short time.

I have a friend who lost her husband and three sons -- all within a six-year period. As I prayed for her, the scripture came to mind that God will never put more on us than we're able to bear. I thought, "What confidence God must have in this dear woman!" Her strength must surely be far beyond anything I see in myself.

How wise we would be not to take on burdens that are beyond our ability to carry. Certainly God is there to help bear them, but what about those things that He never intended for us to pick up in the first place? He's wise. He knows when we're strong enough to carry the weight.

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