"The Burdens of Caregiving"
Numbers 11:11a, 14-15a - Moses said to the LORD, "Why have You dealt ill with Your servant? ... I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me. If You will treat me like this, kill me at once."
You get tired when you're a pastor or missionary; it's the sheer weight of taking care of people, I think. Day in and day out, people have problems. People cause problems. Sometimes, on good days, people solve problems, but it's never as often as you hope, and you can never get away for a break as often as you want -- or know that you should.
I think this is true for anyone who routinely cares for people, in the church or out of it. Human beings go to extremes. They are like the little girl in that nursery rhyme, who, "When she was good, she was very, very good; but when she was bad, she was horrid."
Moses must have known this better than practically anyone. He had the whole people of Israel to take care of: a nation of newly freed slaves, traveling through the wilderness, on the way to the new country God had promised them. In so many ways, they were spiritual babies. They kept looking back to Egypt, yearning for the life they had there, remembering the great food, and conveniently forgetting the slavery. They rarely trusted the Lord. And instead of praying for help when they needed it, they would whine.
Moses couldn't stand it; after all, he was a sinful human being, too. But at least he knew who to take his problems to. So, he went to the Lord and ... well, he whined, as if to say, "Did I give birth to all these people? Is that why You're making me carry them? I can't handle the load anymore; just do me a favor and kill me now" (see Numbers 11).
But look how kind God was to Moses! He didn't yell at him; He didn't tell him to try harder or to get over it already. Instead, God gave Moses real, practical help. God called for 70 leaders from Israel to gather together, and then He put the Holy Spirit on them. From that time on, they would be helping Moses lead Israel.
You may be a caregiver, too. Perhaps you care for hundreds of people; perhaps it's just one. Either way, there are doubtless times when you get tired, too -- when it's all too much -- when you need help. What do you do?
Cry out to God! Even if you feel like you're whining. God is full of mercy, and He understands what we need. He can help.
After all, the God who allowed you to be in this situation is the same God who came to earth as Jesus Christ our Savior. He knows the weight of caregiving. He knows what it is to work with people. He knows what it is to love people so dearly that He was even willing to lay down His life for us -- and to take it up again at His resurrection. He is your caregiver, and He will surely hear you when you cry out for help. Call out to Him, and like Moses, give Him no rest until He answers. He loves you.
THE PRAYER: Lord, You know my burdens. Have mercy on me and help me. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Today's Bible Readings: Isaiah 37-38 Romans 5
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