When Your Blessings Become Burdens

September 12th, 2012

Have you ever found yourself complaining about something that you know you shouldn’t? Perhaps you are griping that you have to do dishes, when you know that you should be thankful that you just ate a delicious meal. Or perhaps you are whining about having to mow the lawn and you remember that some people aren’t blessed with a yard of their own. Sometimes we treat our blessings as if they are burdens. But then, sometimes, our blessings do indeed become burdens. Sometimes that child who you love and cherish turns against you and wreaks havoc in your home. Sometimes that house for which you are so thankful floods, and insurance won’t cover the damage. Sometimes the job that has been such a blessing requires more hours and a pay cut. We don’t usually like to say it out loud, but it’s true. Sometimes blessings do indeed become burdens.

Consider the people of Israel. They witnessed first hand God’s miraculous provision in leading them out of Egypt. Yet they cried, “Oh, we would have been better off as slaves instead of starving to death in the desert!” While there were times during their stint in the wilderness that the Israelites were just whiners, there were also times when the blessing of freedom was indeed a burden. It was a real burden. Think about it. They were in the desert! They were human. They had the blessing of freedom, but they still needed to drink. We would have been thirsty too.

The people weren’t exaggerating. Exodus 17:1 tells us “there was no water for the people to drink.” They had a legitimate problem.

When you’re unemployed and you can’t make the payment, the blessing of having a car in the driveway is now a concern. When you hear the doctor tell you that your aging parent is going to require 24 hour care, you have a problem. Is it a sin to have a burden? Is it a sin to have a need? Of course not.

So why did Moses get so upset with the Israelites for asking for something to drink? “Why are you testing the Lord?” he said (Exodus 17:2).

The problem wasn’t that the Israelites were complaining about not having water. It was to whom they were complaining. The Bible tells us again and again. “The whole Israelite community complained against Moses and Aaron.” (Exodus 16:2) “The people argued with Moses…” (Exodus 17:2) “…They complained to Moses.” (Exodus 17:3) Instead of taking their needs to the One who had already miraculously provided so much, they kept going to Moses and Aaron.

We are all blessed. Regardless of our circumstances or the current situations in our lives, we have all been blessed. But when our blessings turn into burdens, to whom do we complain? Are you complaining to your spouse because there isn’t enough money in the bank to pay the bills? Are you complaining to your best friend when your child is unruly and disobedient? Are you complaining to yourself when things just don’t seem to be going your way?

When the people complained to Moses, Moses got upset with them. So, what did Moses do? He complained. For Moses, this people who he had been chosen to lead, this nation that should have been a blessing, these Israelites, they had become a burden. “Moses said to the LORD, “Why have you treated your servant so badly? And why haven’t I found favor in your eyes, for you have placed the burden of all these people on me?” (Numbers 11:11) In verse 14 Moses says, “I can’t bear this people on my own. They’re too heavy for me.” In fact, Moses was pretty blunt with the Lord. He said, “If you’re going to treat me like this, please kill me.” (Numbers 11:15) Yet, we don’t hear God reprimanding Moses for his whining. Why?

Because Moses wasn’t complaining to his wife. Moses wasn’t sitting around the campfire whining with Aaron. Moses wasn’t grumbling against God. He was speaking to God. And you know what? God answered Moses’ prayers.

Would it surprise you to know that God wants to hear your complaints? The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:7, “Throw all your anxiety onto him, because he cares about you.” Don’t you just love that word picture? Toss those burdens at the Lord. Chuck them out to God. God is big enough. God can handle it. God cares for you and doesn’t want you to carry those burdens alone. God wants those burdens because God is the One who can do something about them.

So, when you find yourself in a desert in life, and the blessings you once cherished have become burdens, don’t complain against God. Complain to God. Remember the story of the Israelites, and in the words of the old hymn “Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.”

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