Back a few years ago, when our children were younger, we bought a pop-up camper and decided that we were destined to become “one happy camping family.” What better way to combine exploring the great outdoors with quality family bonding time, right? I still remember our first camping trip in that pop-up like it was yesterday. Finding that perfect campsite…trying to maneuver the camper into the woods between the trees…working in the pouring rain to set the camper up. Let’s just say that camping experience didn’t exactly live up to our expectations. Five people and a dog stuck in close proximity for an entire rained-out weekend – a far cry from the family bonding experience we were hoping for!
Although our initial camping experience was not exactly an overwhelming success, we decided we were not a family of quitters. We would get this camping thing figured out – we just needed more accommodating accommodations! So, we sold the pop-up and began looking for something better, something bigger, something that would allow us to bring out our true camper that we knew we each possessed somewhere deep inside. After a short search, we found it. A tow behind full size camper trailer with everything our family needed – kitchen, full bath, dining area, and enough beds to sleep eight people.
We were finally ready to tackle camping again, and this time in style! We waited for the perfect Autumn weekend, loaded everything up, and were on our way. There we were, strolling down the relatively flat Ohio freeway, camper in tow, towards our Pennsylvania Alleghany Mountain destination. At one point, not too far into the three-hour trip, I remember thinking to myself, “this camper is certainly a bit heavier to tow than that pop-up.” Now, I had done my research, and although the weight of this camper was considerably more than the pop-up, I was confident that our minivan could handle it. We continued on into Pennsylvania and as the terrain grew more mountainous, I grew more nervous. I found myself travelling in the slow lane trying to keep up with those around us. Even the “slow lane travelers” were coming out around us, passing us with ease. As the mountains gained elevation, our minivan struggled to make the climb…slower and slower, laboring to keep up. I couldn’t believe it! I had taken what I thought were the necessary precautions, so why were we having such a difficult time? I asked my wife to look at our vehicle’s owner’s manual again to ensure I had calculated the weight properly. As she read aloud our vehicle’s towing capacity, my heart sunk. It dawned on me that I had not accounted for all of the items we had loaded into the camper for our trip, the water in the holding tanks, and the propane tanks. We were overloaded and overweight! We were struggling to just keep moving because our vehicle wasn’t created to carry that load!
After we finally made it to the campgrounds, I started to reflect on our trip there. How many times in life are we like that minivan? Carrying a load that our Heavenly Father did not create us to carry? Living in bondage instead of walking in freedom? Watching those around us flourish, while something seems to be holding us back.
Could it be that our walk with God is not as deep as it could be because we don’t take him up on His promise to carry things for us? Perhaps we cannot know God in His fullness until we have walked with him through the toughest of times, through the fires, emerging without being burned or even smelling of smoke because we allowed Him to carry the load.
Just as the owner’s manual was clear on what our vehicle was created to carry, God has provided His word, the Bible as our life’s owner’s manual. In His manual, He gives clear instruction that we weren’t created to carry the loads of life. Specifically, take a look at what His word commands us to do with some of the loads we carry:
ANXIETY: 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all of your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
SIN: 1 Peter 2:24 “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross.”
BURDENS: Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you. He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”
INJUSTICE: Romans 12:19 “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.”
Our Father has promised to hold us and carry our loads for as long as we inhabit this earth. In Isaiah 46:3-4, He proclaims, “Hearken to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by Me from your birth, carried from the womb, even to your old age I am He, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.”
What a promise! Come to Him, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and He will give you rest. Freedom is found when we surrender and lay everything completely at the Cross. We live in freedom when we resist the temptation to pick it back up. You weren’t created to carry that load.