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Thursday, September 27, 2007

When Trouble Troubles Us

It’s naïve to assume the Christian life is trouble free. Accidents can happen. Illness can strike. Unemployment can occur. Relationships splinter. Death claims loved ones and friends. Someday death will visit each of us. But Christians belong to the One who triumphed over trials, brought God’s love, peace, and joy to human hearts, conquered death, arose from the tomb, lives in heaven, and invites us to tell Him all about our troubles (Hebrews 4:14–16a). He has promised to dispense mercy and grace “to help us in our time of need” (v. 16b).
In the Old Testament era, a succession of high priests ministered on behalf of the nation of Israel. Each high priest performed sacrifices on Israel’s behalf and represented the people as He approached God in worship. His priestly attire included two shoulder pieces, each having an onyx stone. The names of six tribes of Israel were engraved on each stone. He also wore a breast piece having twelve jewels in four rows. A tribe’s name was engraved on each jewel. (See Exodus 28:1–29.) Thus the high priest bore the twelve tribes of Israel on his shoulders and on his heart as her fulfilled his priestly duties.
Hebrews 4:14 identifies Jesus as the Christians’ great high priest. He “sympathizes with our weaknesses” and was “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (v. 15). He stands in God’s presence bearing us on His shoulders and on our hearts!
When trials and temptations seem too heavy to bear, by prayer we can roll our burdens off our shoulders and onto His, and we can shift a load of care from our hearts to His.
Someone wisely observed, “Prayer is the place where burdens change shoulders.”

© Jim Dyet

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