Monday, July 28, 2008

Locked and Loaded

Wow - I simply cannot believe that it has been 26 days since my last post! Life has been crazy ~ JD and I have gone on a mission trip to San Francisco, California, done a backpacking trip to the PA Grand Canyon, and finally finished our fundraising for our summer mission trips! This summer has just flown by... but I am so very excited for what is still ahead. This week's ABLAZE should be awesome, as JD will be giving his message titled "Don't Play Fair", and we leave in exactly 1 week for our second mission trip of the summer to Newport, Tennessee with our Junior High group.

Anyhow, getting to today's devotion - I am so excited to share this with you!

So as I said above, JD and I took a 4 day backpacking trip to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon in northern PA. It was wonderful... very difficult, but well worth the work! We did a 30 mile trail, called the West Rim Trail, which ran from Ansonia to Blackwell... and used this smaller get-a-way as a sort of "test run" for when we go backpacking in the Great Smoky Mountains this August. This turned out to be a wonderful introduction (for me) into what backpacking is all about. The hike started off great and we were working our way along the trail. I had a 35lb. pack on my back... which is (according to other, more experienced hikers) not a lot of weight in the world of backpacking.
( me with my pack on)
But none-the-less, it seemed like a lot of weight to me. At about 3 miles down the trail, we came to a vista with a look-out point, where we put down our packs and took in the view. Coincidently, we did not want to put our packs back on and keep going... and then I started to think about our Christian walk (I'm such a preacher at heart!) and how we always try to carry everything on our backs all the time. I thought about how we, especially us women, just keep taking on and taking on - how we truly believe that we can get everything done on our own. After finishing our first day, I went to bed that night praying that God would use this trip to seriously show me insight into his desires for my life.
When I woke up the next morning, my first thought was about my pack and how badly I did not want to put it on for our 12 mile hike that day. After a great breakfast and some much needed encouragement from JD, I put my pack on and headed down the trail. After about 2 more miles of hiking that day, JD and I ran into none other than a huge rattlesnake... sunning himself along the trail!!! We literally started running in the other direction when we head that thing start to rattle!! It was so very scary... and quite difficult to run with a 35lb. pack on my back!
And that my darlings, is where I discovered today's devotion. You see, its so true that we often try to carry life on our shoulders. Not only do we carry our sins, but we carry our responsibilities, and our worries, and thoughts of our loved ones, and the list goes on and on. However, when I saw that snake and tried to run... I got a real glimpse of how much my pack was hindering me from freedom and how heavy it really was. Psalm 55:22 says “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Have you ever noticed, dear ones, that Satan seems to strike when our load is heavy? He picks times when we are weighed down by our sins and our "to do" lists, as the most opportune times to work us over and scare us half to death! But if we really cast our burdens upon the Lord, as it says in the Psalm… He will not let us be moved! We can stand firm in our lives – like having concrete poured over our feet to keep Satan from pushing us down.

My encouragement to you today is to lighten your load. When JD and I get out of the car, for some odd reason, we always say "locked" (meaning that the doors are locked) and "loaded" (meaning that we have all of our stuff out of the car). Are you locked - secure with Christ, knowing that He can and will carry ALL of your burdens? Are you loaded - with Christ on your back, or the weight of the world on your back? Girls, don't let this day pass without giving something, anything to God. Just let Him know that you are ready for some help... and He will be there, like our knight in shinning armor! Oh how awesome is our God!

I love you ladies!!!

With All My Heart,
Susan Elaine


The Burgess family said...

Very interesting post, Susan! Thank you for the thought provoking insights. And glad you guys had a good backpacking trip. A rattlesnake, oh my! I've never seen one!

Anonymous said...

Suziee I really really like this one message. It most definatly relates to my life and all of the stuff that has been thrown at me and brought me down in the last couple of months. I had a BLAST with everyone on the mission trip and can't wait to tell everyone about it! Thanks for making my week great and up beat as you always are! Haha love you bunches!

Jenn said...

Definitely an inspired post. Great reminders. Thanks!