In looking at some pictures, I had taken while on missions trips, I was reminded of how the scripture teaches us to view our burdens and the unavoidable situations that life puts us in.
The first photograph is of a man I saw in a city of India, riding his bicycle transport vehicle that was heavy laden with boxes of various goods. It was his task to deliver these heavy burdens to merchants and earn his meager income and hence provision for he and perhaps his loved ones. Hard work indeed, and in a hot, humid land, in and out of heavy traffic, but his burden would produce his provision. His burden was his song.
The next photographs are of two beautiful and committed women in a hot and dusty city in the country of Togo in Sub-Sahara Africa. Beautiful not only because they are made in God’s image and likeness, but because of their commitment, their world is made better.
The picture on the bottom right is of a mother with her toddler bound tightly to her back. Small children in this part of the world are often carried this way, feeling their mother’s heartbeat and the closeness of her love. A burden for her to be sure, but think of it; she readily and willingly bears the burden of the child she loves. Her burden is her song. No better portrait of love than the one this beautiful mother gives us.
The picture on the top right is of a woman bearing upon her head a heavy tray of beautifully colored fresh vegetables. She may be going to market or perhaps delivering them somewhere or bringing them to her family. Whatever her destination, she bears her burden willingly and with great skill, and just her presence, while she performs her task beautifies her hot and dry world.
Her burden is her song. What a lesson she teaches us.
The Book of the Prophet Habakkuk is a short but powerful book in the Old Testament. Habakkuk’s world was on the very precipice of the judgement of God for their sins. Habakkuk loved God and loved his nation, but his prophetic eyes had let him see what was coming. He begins his book with the words “The burden which Habakkuk the Prophet did see.” He spends the rest of his short book speaking of his fear of God’s judgement, pleading for revival, and the resigning of the future to the will of God, stating in Habakkuk 3:17-19. I am now paraphrasing, “If we lose everything, I am still going to rejoice in the God of my salvation!” And then, he states that God will “set him in a high place like the mountain deer where his enemies cannot touch him.”
Habakkuk ends his book….which began as a burden calling his book a song and asks the “chief singer” to sing it with stringed instruments.
Your load may be heavy but bear it joyfully, knowing that God has placed you where you are. Your steps are ordered by Him, and your burden can become your song.
General Director Church of God World Missions
Dr. David M. Griffis