Uncovering My Treasures
I don’t know about you, but I have times when stresses related to my work and other challenges are trying to grab an inordinate amount of my thoughts. They seem to be tumbling around me, screaming for attention, and it’s hard to hear anything other than their clamor. That is, if I’m not listening carefully for that still, small, gentle voice of God.
When I start to feel stressed, I know there’s something wrong. As the poem goes, “I’m trying to see joy and beauty, but the day toils on, gray and bleak.” I finally realize what’s happening and determine to take action! I know that coming to a full stop, even for a few minutes, to be alone with the Lord and give Him my undivided attention is the only solution.
In His arms, there are no demands, no stress. There’s only praise and thankfulness, and the desire to refocus on what is truly important: the One I’m with, who He is and who I am in Him.
When I act like my work is my lover and not Him, everything starts to go awry. It all seems so difficult and it might not even get done right. Those difficulties can’t help but be reflected in my spirit and my words.
When this happened the other day, I asked Him to forgive me for looking so negatively at my burdens. The Lord led me to an explanation about burdens that I hadn’t thought about for a long time. It gives a very different perspective on how to look at them. Besides the fact that the solution is to take time with Jesus, it’s also a way to look at how the Lord wants us to react to the things that would try to get us down. I want to share part of it with you.
Lifted Above the Burdens
To lie and cringe beneath
One’s load means death, but life and power
Await all those who dare to rise above.
Our burdens are our wings; on them
We soar to higher realms of grace;
Without them we must ever roam
On plains of undeveloped faith,
(For faith grows but by exercise
In circumstance impossible).
Oh, paradox of Heaven. The load
We think will crush was sent to lift us
Up to God! Then, soul of mine,
Climb up! Nothing can e’er be crushed
Save what is underneath the weight.
And here is how we do it:
How may we climb! By what ascent
Will we crest the critical cares
Of life! Within His word is found
The key which opens His secret stairs;
Alone with Christ, secluded there,
We mount our loads, and rest in Him.1
After meditating on this for a bit, I got filled up again so that I could speak from the fullness of my heart. Then I wrote down my praise to Him, to remind myself again, and anyone who wanted to listen, of the beautiful life I have and the praise that belongs to Him, the amazing God who has given it! I was reminded again that it’s not enough to start each day giving it all to Jesus, but I have to stay close in spirit and check in with Him throughout the day. The burdens won’t crush us or even get us out of sorts or stressed and negative as long as we keep casting them on Him. We can keep reminding ourselves that He sent the burdens to carry us, not to crush us.
As an introduction to my praises, here is a poem that mirrors some of my thoughts about Jesus.
You ask why I follow my Jesus,
Why I love Him the way that I do?
Why I’d follow wherever He leads me?
O’er paths chosen only by few.
It’s not the rewards that I’m after,
Or gifts that I hope to receive.
It’s His Presence I crave ever more of,
It’s His Spirit I trust and believe.
The Lord doesn’t shelter His faithful,
Or spare them all suffering and pain,
Like everyone else, I have troubles,
And trudge through my share of the rain.
For He gives me a plan and a purpose,
And that joy that He shares with His own.
I don’t know what’s coming tomorrow,
But I do know I’m never alone.
It’s His love always there when I need it;
It’s His words that redeem and inspire,
It’s my longing to ever be with Him
That burns in my heart like a fire.
So why do I love my Lord Jesus?
My friend, that’s so easy to see,
But the one thing that fills me with wonder,
Is why Jesus loves someone like me.2
I not only want to praise Him for my here-and-now material blessings, as many as there are of those. I want to give thanks for much more important spiritual blessings as well, things I may not always be able to see with my eyes but which are eternally mine: the privilege of being a citizen of heaven and of belonging to a heavenly culture and a heavenly family that numbers in the millions upon millions!
I’m so blessed to be able to talk about our heavenly life. I’m rightfully proud of who I belong to and the one who I serve and with whom I’m able to have conversations at any moment—my heavenly Father!
I’m awed by the fact that the God who created and guides the universe also created and guides my life. He is the same amazing God who loves to live within my heart and show me how to live His heavenly lifestyle!
His love for me is so great that it goes far beyond what my mind can even imagine! His presence in my life will never diminish, never run dry, never stop flowing into me with all I can take in and more. He has allowed me to partner with Him in making my own life and the lives of others happier and more fulfilling. That is astounding!
I am honored to know the truth that apart from Him, I can do nothing that will bear lasting fruit, but in Him I can do all these things and live a life of eternal value. I’m blessed that I’m not bound by the things I see in myself, my own shortcomings and inabilities. He lets me see through His eyes how differently He looks at me than I look at myself.
When I get off track, unbalanced, or discouraged, Jesus is right beside me to help me regain my perspective and my stability. I’m so privileged to have the gift of the keys of the kingdom, and access to His power that I—or anyone who wishes to—can avail themselves of.
I’m so thankful for the opportunity to learn humility, balance, and patience in my life, because they are of such great value and importance.
When I need healing, I have the knowledge and certainty that I will be healed in the best way and time. I have the joy of knowing that I won’t leave this earth one minute too soon or too late. I’m assured that He won’t let anything happen to me unless it will ultimately help me! I can successfully fight fear with faith in this fear-filled world.
No matter how old I am, every day can be a learning and growing experience of gaining new insights and building habits and growing in faith that will prepare me for the next stages of life.
Each experience, Jesus tells me, shapes me a little more into the wondrous creation that together we are fashioning. He has bestowed on us that privilege—to have a part in choosing who we will become. Amazing!
Blessed be the name of the Lord who has loaded us with benefits beyond anything we could ask or think! Our lives are running over with joy, given by the God we adore!
And now a hymn of thanksgiving to add to my heart full of praise! This composer wrote one of the most beautiful and fitting tributes to our Lord of love that I know!3 Note the repeated references to “joy,” “joyful,” and “rejoice”!
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
Op’ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!
All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain.
Call us to rejoice in Thee.
Thou art giving and forgiving,
Ever blessing, ever blest,
Wellspring of the joy of living,
Ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother,
Mother Love our hearts entwine.
Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the joy divine.
Mortals, join the happy chorus,
Which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us,
Brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward.
In the triumph song of life.