Problems vs. Burdens

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

What is a problem? I could not find the specific word “problem” in the Bible. They used different terminology than we use today. But from this verse you can get the gist of what problems were in Paul’s time. Paul experienced problems. He had some sort of “thorn in the flesh” that God would not allow to be taken from him. Some think it could have been blindness. I guess we may find out when we get to Heaven. But until then, let’s just look at problems in general. 

A problem can be defined as “In general, any question involving doubt or uncertainty, and requiring some operation, experiment or further evidence for its solution.” (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary) Paul had a problem that he had to choose how he was going to respond it. He could whine and complain about it or he could choose to give God glory in and through it. He chose the later. And the reason is because God reminded him that when he (Paul) is weak, He (Jesus) is strong. God can use our weaknesses to show His strength. 

Problems are something that we encounter every day. Some may be long term problems and some may be spur of the moment problems. Either way, we have to choose how we are going to respond to them. Sometimes our spur of the moment problems become chronic. Why? Sometimes it is because we choose not respond to them properly the first time. They keep coming back. And we keep responding to them incorrectly. And that’s when a transformation happens – they become burdens. 

A burden is defined as “That which is borne with labor or difficulty; that which is grievous, wearisome or oppressive.” (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary). When we choose not to give it over to Jesus to handle, when we think that we can handle this problem on our own, it becomes grievous and wearisome and oppressive. I am the first one in line for this issue. Problems are my specialty. For example, give me a knot in a rope or chain or something that is supposed to be straight and I can figure out a way to straighten it. I am a professional knot-getter-outer. Yep, that’s a word in my world. Sometimes I think I can do the same thing with problems. I think I can handle them all on my own. I’ll show them. I can do this. And then not too long afterwards, I find myself on my knees because the burden is too much, my heart is too heavy and my spirit is too weak. 

And that is when I turn around and see Jesus right there waiting to hear from me. That’s when He is standing there with arms open wide, ready to receive me right where I left Him. 

1 Peter 5:7 – “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

So let me encourage you today to make the right choice with your problems. Don’t let them become burdens. See them as problems and let Jesus help you solve them. Don’t try to go at it alone – that’s when the potential for a burden sets in. Jesus is ready and willing to walk with you through whatever comes across your path. 

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