My parents used to sing in the car as we travelled. Us kids would join in with “You are my Sunshine” or “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” One song, of which I only remember a few lines, was more of a wail, “Make the world go away, and get it off my shoulders. Say the things you used to say, and make the world go away.” The song, as I recall, was more about a broken relationship, but for today, I want us to think about how we allow the difficulties of this world to drag us down.
Think with me, though. We really can’t blame the world for our problems, it is inanimate. Our burdens are heavy because of the way we bear them.
Spurgeon began talking about troubled hearts in my reading the other day. It got me thinking again about a question I have spent hours meditating on – why is it some people seem never to be happy? Why are some people bound in trouble all the time? I’ve never found the answer, but Spurgeon must have dealt with the same questions as he wrote about troubled hearts.
Before he gives the cure, he makes an examination. Just look at some of what he says. “It is the easiest thing in the world in times of difficulty to let the heart be troubled. A troubled heart will not help us in our difficulties or out of them” (p 7) When we face difficulties, giving up to heart-ache will not solve our problems. “The darkness of your heart will not light a candle for you.”
That phrase creates such a picture in my mind! Staring at the darkness does not produce light—only continued darkness! We needn’t throw open the doors so the howling winds can blow right through our lives—that doesn’t solve anything. When we allow our aching spirit to have free reign it takes from us what joys we have. A troubled heart makes that which is bad worse.
Then, he writes, “There are flowers that bloom in winter, if we have but grace to see them. Never was there a night of the soul so dark but what some lone star of hope might be discerned, and never a spiritual tempest so tremendous but what there was a haven into which the soul could put if it had but enough confidence in God to make a run for it. Rest assured that though you have fallen very low, you might have fallen lower if it were not that underneath are the everlasting arms.” (113-114)
Ah! Beautiful—the everlasting arms. How many times have I found myself falling upon them when there seemed no hope and rested secure in their embrace? How many times have I had to make a run for it, to cast myself upon the Lord in the face of awful trials? How about you? Do you know that experience?
Spurgeon continued to speak of fear. Fear that made the ten spies feel like grasshoppers! They forgot God was on their side. They failed to remember the hand of the Almighty and so felt reduced and daunted in the sight of what they faced. Their unbelief made their difficulty into a giant. “O woe is me,” they began to cry.
And that is what we do. We look at difficulty as if it were a giant, and we a grasshopper. Our ailments, break-ups, and challenges grow into huge mountains, and we find ourselves laying at the base with no strength to be able to climb.
And what was Spurgeon’s remedy for heart-ache of this sort? Take heart – there is always someone around you facing a severe trial, more extreme poverty, or on a more difficult path. Don’t think you are the only one. Look for those around you who are persevering through their trials and walk with them. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He endured more than you ever will.
Then…then…Spurgeon quoted a short passage that always brings a smile to my face and courage to my heart.
Hebrews 12:3-4 “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”
In other words, think of all the hostility Christ endured from the world around him. Draw courage from his example; then, you won’t be so tempted to become weary and give up. After all, you haven’t yet shed blood in your struggle against sin.
It is the habit of our unbelief and rebellious heart to draw the blackest possible colors to our situation, to tell us that our road is unusually rough and utterly impassable, that we will never reach the haven. There is no courage in unbelief! So, dear friend, take heart.
Your path may be rough, but it will only last for a while. Better days are ahead, but if you stay at the base of the mountain complaining and whimpering, you will never make it to the heights! Get your eyes back on the path, and start moving forward!
This world isn’t going to go away, yet. So, let’s learn to cast our burdens on the Lord, adjust our sights, and move forward with hope.
“This is the day which the Lord hath made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it!”