December 31, 2021

Loaded Wagons - Reflection and Renewal for the year that was and the year that will be

I can still remember the way the pastor said it that day. I was visiting with my cousin Hope in Texas, and we went to church that morning. For so many years growing up in the church I had heard the phrase – God will never put more on you than you can stand. I had never fully understood that statement or completely agreed with it even as a young man.

In my experiences up to that point, I had felt just the opposite, the full weight of life and all its burdens at times. So that morning, the pastor at First Baptist Church Allen Texas put it in a way I will never forget, and I still quote.

He was talking about Paul and his prayer for God to remove the thorn in the flesh and how God did not remove it but promised him that He would give Him grace to endure.

He then said, “I know you have heard your whole life that God will never put more on you than you can stand, but I just want you to know that is not only false but sometimes God will flat load your wagon! He will do so for you to fully trust in Him and His strength and not your on.”

It was that one statement that stuck with me now almost 15 years later, God will flat load your wagon. In other words, it can seem as if you have more than you can even carry.

He was not the first one to say that for sure, but I have thought it about for a long time and even quoted him often. Life can get hard, and it can seem like we just cannot take anything added to our load.

When we think of a loaded wagon, we can picture something like the picture I used. A horse drawn wagon loaded down with supplies, people or whatever needed to be carried at the time. For us, we use this phrase to speak of anything of a great quantity.

These are some of the examples I found online

It even crashes into a wagon load of hay, turning the cargo into straw hats.

During this period, local settlers reported that fossils were often removed by the wagon load.

In the 1960s, as part of a modernization plan, the sidings were re-designed for more efficient wagon load handling.

People came by the wagon load.

So suddenly, a little tractor pulling two wagon loads of teddy bears turned up in front of the plane.

What's at stake: As has been the case since the Jets dropped three straight, they're dealing with a wagonload of pressure.

Just like the last example, when we use this phrase or hear it, it is used as a negative.

Life gets hard, troubles and trials pile on and the next thing you know, your wagon is full!! Even the pastor I quoted used it in a negative way referring to what God may do – He may just load your wagon. And remember, in the context of his sermon, he was talking about burdens, not blessings.

But, let me pivot for a moment and ask a question? Can God load our wagon full of blessings just like he can sometimes for burdens? Can a loaded wagon be a moment of renewal and revival for us as we look at the provision of God and not just what we might call “piling on?”

I had this fresh perspective as I read Genesis 45 this week. Let me give you a summery if I can. This part of Genesis recounts for us the life of Joseph who was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers but through a set of circumstances becomes second in command only behind Pharaoh himself. After revealing this truth to his brothers who had come to Egypt for food and supplies, Joseph sends for his father back in Canaan.

The brothers leave out to bring Jacob, the father of all these boys, back to Egypt. He doesn’t believe it and the text even gives the idea that Jacob was just overwhelmed and struggling in his spirit with what he thought would be a bad thing. But then, well just see for yourself what the Bible says

25 So they went up from Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. 26 They said, “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt!” Jacob was stunned, for he did not believe them. 27 But when they told Jacob all that Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to transport him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28 Then Israel said, “Enough! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go to see him before I die.”

Did you see it? When Jacob heard what Joseph had said (the promises) and saw the wagons, his spirit was revived!!

Seeing the loaded wagons brought a revival to his soul. One, he may not have ever seen anything like the type of wagons Egypt would have used, I imagine it was the Rolls Royse of wagons. Then, I can just see them in my minds eye, those wagons loaded down with all kinds of blessings from his son Joseph. It moved the heart of Jacob to see God's favor.

The more I ciphered on this, the more I thought about the loaded wagons in my life over the last year. Not just the ones with the burdens, which we have all had. But I begin to think about the loaded wagons of blessings God had given me.

It is so easy to focus on the burdens that I often miss the blessings. But if I can just take a moment and look back, wow, there have been wagons of blessings this past year. The more I see those wagons, the more my soul begin to be revived just like Jacob.

I do not know about you, but I needed a little reviving!! The word speaks of renewal, refreshing and a brining back to life that which is fading or lacking. It speaks of a renewed hope and passion in our lives when we need it most.

Jacob had lost hope of every seeing his son Joseph again and had felt like God had just stripped him again of so much and at one point even felt like God was against him. But when he saw the wagons, it resurrected hope once again in his soul.

How about you? Has the past year brought about moments of lost hope, discouragement, burdens trials and testing that has depleted your resources from within? Could you use a little reviving in your soul?

Take a moment and begin to look at the other side of the “loaded wagons” in your life. It may be hard at first, but I can guarantee you, look around you, you too have had wagons of blessings along the way.

I did this yesterday and it begin to move my heart in a way that I was not expecting.

Let me list some of my wagons to help you start your list today:

·       I am saved and no matter what, I am going to heaven one day to be with Jesus!
·       I have a wife and daughter that love me in spite of me!!!
·       I am blessed with family and friends that encourage me and pray for me all the time.
·       Yes, I have walked through sickness, but I have also known healing, recovery, and strength every day.
·       I have seen miracles and answered to prayers for people that I deeply care about.
·       God has placed people in my life who are going through a lot more than I am and have taught me the grace, mercy, and love of God amid trials and how they view life has helped me view my life in a better way. You know who you are and you a true wagon load of blessings in my life this past year!
·       As a family, we saw answer to specific prayers this year.
·       I was blessed to celebrate 25 years of marriage with my lovely bride both with family and dear friends but also with a trip I will never forget!!
·       It has been a hard year for all of our churches, but even still, we saw 7 saved during VBS and in one Sunday in September we saw 9 baptized! That is a wagon full of blessings.
·       To be honest, time with my family has been a wagon load of blessings every day and every Sunday the Lord Jesus lets me preach to the most amazing people who have let me be there pastor soon to be 18 years – that is a wagon load of blessings.

This is not all I wrote down, but you get the idea. Even now as I write this, my heart is stirred, and I feel my spirit reviving.

Today, as we look back on the year that was and look forward to the year that will be, take a moment and don’t just dwell on the loaded wagons of burdens you have experienced and maybe even feeling this morning. But, like Jacob, see the wagons full of blessings and let God revive your spirit.

Reflect on the goodness of God and be renewed as we approach a new year!

In the words of the pastor that morning, yes, God will flat load your wagon. And sometimes it is not a terrible thing but a blessed thing.

Think about it today.

May the Lord bless you all into this New Year and thank you to all who take the time to read the ciphering of this old boy from Robertstown.

Pastor Michael