The Basket

I was in Zambia driving on a dirt rode between villages when Bill and I came upon an old woman returning home from the market carrying a big heavy basket on her head. This wasn’t unusual except that this lady was really old and her basket was really big.  So we decided to offer to drive the lady to her home. She thanked us and got into the car with her basket. On the way, Bill glanced at the lady in the mirror, still carrying her basket on her head. Astonished, he asked her to lay the basket down in the car and rest. The old lady naively replied, “Oh my son, your car is carrying me; this is enough, I should not burden it carrying my basket too!”

I laughed but later I thought that is so what I do to God everyday!  God carries me during the day but I insist in carrying my heavy basket of worries and fear of the future, for family, friends, loved ones, money, work, etc.  I am carried by Almighty Hands, watched over by Sleepless Eyes and God is in control of my future yet I can’t relax and put everything in God’s Hands. 

How about you?  The old lady, if she had agreed to lay down the basket, would have had to carry it again when she got back home.  But the beautiful thing about God is that once we place our heavy basket in His Hands, we never have to pick it up again. In fact, we can place new burdens in it as often as we want!  This is what the Psalmist was getting at in… Ps 55:22  “Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you.”

Peter put the same promise this way… 1 Peter 5:7  “Cast all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.”

When the complications of a particular day become too much for us to handle, we can turn them over to God, and He will give us the strength to make it through. One of the most empowering statements we can make is “Lord, I don’t have the strength to get through this on my own; I need your help.” We don’t have to deal with our worries and cares all alone. We can offer them up to God: “Lord, this is a problem that I don’t know how to handle. I need your strength, I need your wisdom.”  Praying for wisdom is one prayer that God always answers!  

James 1:5  “If any of you lacks wisdom, He should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to Him.”

Another promise from Psalm 55 is…

Ps 55:16,23  “I call to God, and the Lord saves me…But as for me, I trust in you.”

Like most Christians I realize that the only way i can be saved is to trust in Christ to forgive me of our sins. I know that there is nothing I can do on my own to save myself; I am a fallen man who is incapable of saving myself.  I believe that without God’s grace I have no hope of salvation.

However, also like many Christians, I forget that when it comes to daily living the same rule applies.  I trust myself to handle the problems that come my way. Too often my attitude is, “Thanks for salvation, Lord but today’s problems I can handle today on my own.”  That attitude is a recipe for disaster, because life just doesn’t work that way.

This is difficult for us to admit, but the fact is we can’t effectively handle the day-to-day complications of life any more than we can save our own souls. We need God’s intervention in our lives; we need Him to save us — from our sin, and from our pride.

The good news is: He will do it. Just as surely as He will save us from our sin He will also save us from our pride.  He wants us to entrust to Him the problems of day-to-day life. I don’t mean that daily trusting God means that He will prevent us from experiencing problems; I mean that He will give us the power to face anything life or the enemy can throw at us.  This is why we need to return to Him throughout the day, because when we continually put our trust in God, He refuels us with His power which empowers us to meet each challenge each day.  Jesus said…

“Do not worry about tomorrow…Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)

If we let them, daily troubles can rob us of  the experience of a real relationship with God. In reality God never leaves us — He is always present with us — but if our eyes are on our problems and not on God, we can miss the experience of God’s presence.

To avoid that, just like David, we need to be able to say with conviction:

 (v. 17) Evening, morning and noon, I cry out in distress and He hears my voice.

Peace

Not a day goes by that I don’t pray for peace.  Peace for our world,  peace for our country, peace in my soul.  I don’t know anyone that doesn’t want peace.  What people disagree on is how we get it.  I really and truly believe that giving God responsibility for our life is the key to finding that inward peace we all want.

The psalmist writes in Psalm 127:2: “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat — for He grants sleep to those He loves.”

“Responsibility” is a loaded word.  People who take their responsibilities seriously are good people to have around.  It is the type of person I strive to be.  But putting our responsibilities on our own shoulders alone causes worry – sometimes worry to the point of losing sleep.   I admire conscientious people; they work hard.  They get up early to get an early start; they stay up late to be sure their work is done right.  They go the extra mile.  But they also frequently find themselves tired and frazzled.

There’s nothing wrong with getting up early and going to bed late — that comes with having high expectations for yourself — but there is something wrong about depending so much on yourself alone that you end up living in a constant state of tension.  You don’t have to lie awake at night, staring at the ceiling, wondering how you’re going to make it through another day…if you’re going to make it through another day.  A wonderful by-product of giving God responsibility is peace of mind.   If we give God responsibility for our life , then our problems become His problems, not ours alone.

When we give God responsibility for our life, He takes it.   He handles it.  Does this mean things always work out the way we want them to?  No.  Better than that!  It means things always work out the way that God, in His sovereign and sometimes severe mercy, knows is ultimately the best way.

When we give God responsibility for our life, you can face every day with the assurance that He will cause all of the events of our life to work together for good.

I love God’s promise in Romans 8:28

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.”

True peace comes by trusting in God more than in the circumstances of life.  I don’t always do that, in fact I don’t do it even most of the time, but I want to do it all the time!