“…are you afflicted, and is there a great load and burden on you because of your affliction? You think there is no way in the world to get contentment, but, O that this burden were but off!“
“The way of contentment is to add another burden, that is, to labor to load and burden your heart with your sin; the heavier the burden of your sin is to your heart, the lighter will the burden of your affliction be to your heart, and so you shall come to be content. “
“If you would have your burden light, get alone and examine your heart for your sin, and charge your soul with your sin. If your burden is in your possessions, for the abuse of them, or if it is a burden upon your body, for the abuse of your health and strength, and the abuse of any mercies that now the Lord has taken away from you, that you have not honored God with those mercies that you have had, but you have walked wantonly and carelessly; if you so fall to bemoaning your sin before the Lord, you shall quickly find the burden of your affliction to be lighter than it was before.”
This is another truth that I have experienced in my journey with Christ over and over, yet it wasn’t until I read this book that the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see that this is what was happening to me!
When we are afflicted in our possessions, health, or any mercy from the Lord—– it is wise to seek God and to ask Him to search our hearts for any hidden sin.
THE BURDENS OF AFFLICTION
This past year, I had many a burden, many an affliction from the hand of the Lord. I had never been so sick in my life–double ear infections, colds, allergy attacks, flu, random trip to the ER for what felt like a life threatening foot problem, stitches from an accidental cutting of my finger, etc. Then there were the financial burdens when my husband lost his job, and I watched all that we had slip away. Our washer broke. Our mailbox was crushed away by the city snowplow. The car wouldn’t start morning after morning. A friendly skunk decided to make his home under our deck. The vacuum broke. The washer water tube fell out-of-place and flooded the basement.
But the heaviest afflictions were those that were in my very home with my husband and child. Time after time my husband would have to leave for jobs. My son would oppose me daily. I was unknowingly disrespecting my husband and causing all the division between us. I was trying to control my son and his life and unknowingly creating chaos in my own family and home.
For a year and a half, it was affliction after affliction. My heart was burdened! And it became cold. It became hardened. I set off to seek to save my own life and I tried to make our family better, I tried to save myself from getting any more illnesses by eating good and taking vitamins. I tried to save every cent we had to ensure that we would never find ourselves in the same financial situations again.
The more I sought to save my life, the more I lost it!
I believed that the only way I would get out of these afflictions that were upon me and my family was by the way of deliverance. I couldn’t be content unless I was delivered from the illnesses, financial burdens, and family issues. I felt something outside of me needed to happen to make things better and ok.
I was deceived.
ADDING ANOTHER BURDEN
About 5 months ago, I was at my wit’s end. I was all out of ideas. I couldn’t save my life. I couldn’t prevent affliction. I was heavy laden with sin, and I was blind to it. I focused in on the afflictions in my marriage and family, and I was led by the grace of God alone to find the blog of a dear Sister in Christ, Peacefulwife.com. It was through April’s journey that the Lord began to show me the heavier burden of sin that was in my own heart!
It was this post, “Dying to Self” that the Lord used to open my blinded eyes to all the mountains of my own sin—-there I found pride, idolatry, hatred, discord, envy, jealousy,fits of rage,disrespect, and selfish-ambition all in my heart—-but the biggest sin I saw was idolatry.
I had so many idols in my heart–husband, child, control, pride, self, happiness, etc. I was mortified. It was as if a 20 inch think scale fell off the eyes of my heart that morning. I was devastated. And this was only the beginning of the layers that the Lord would start to peel off of the sin in my own heart.
The Holy Spirit was working mightily in my heart that day, and as my heart was breaking, and as I confessed every known sin in that moment, all the afflictions I had seen and that were currently upon me were no longer heavy.
When I saw that the issue was not outside of me, but was in my own heart, I became free!
I confessed my sins by the grace of God, and repented. I turned to Jesus that morning, and I have never looked back. I’ve stumbled along the way, but I have never looked back. That day, I received His grace, His forgiveness for all these sins that I was shown, and He led me to surrender EVERYTHING that day–my marriage, family, finances,will,control—-ALL OF IT I let go of! And His Spirit flooded my heart and soul with a joy and peace that truly surpassed all my understanding. It was like the weight of the world was lifted off of my shoulders. It was glorious. And all the glory be to God for doing the impossible! He opened blinded eyes. He freed my heart from the discontentment I had been self-inflicting and living in for so long!
I had experienced what Burroughs is talking about when he says that a way to true contentment is not by being delivered from your afflictions, but rather, it is by adding another burden, which is the burden of your own sin.
God is near to those who have a broken and contrite spirit.
If we seek the Lord to know what is truly in our hearts, we may find that inwardly we are so far from true contentment because we have been blinded by our own sin towards heaven, and we have been so focused on the affliction, we have not considered that the affliction was due in part to our having abused the mercies of God. We have not been thankful or grateful for all He has bestowed upon us. And He has been slow to anger, giving us a minor affliction with the objective to bring our hearts back to Him alone. And we have not taken care. We instead have further rebelled and drawn out a heavier affliction.
But in the mercy and grace of God, He has shown me that it was good that I had been afflicted, for it drew my heart out to Him, and He was able to do in me what only He could do. PRAISE THE LORD! He is Good!