Atlas holding up the heavens

We’ve seen the sculpture of a man bent under the weight up a massive round sphere. Atlas is a mythical Greek titan, who after losing a rebellion against Zeus, was forced to hold up the heavens for all eternity. I can’t even hold a ten-pound weight above my head for more than two minutes before my arms start to shake uncontrollably.

Are we like Atlas, trying to hold up the world?

Are we being crushed under the weight that is too heavy for us to bear? Do we hold onto false guilt believing we should do more, try harder, handle circumstances that are beyond our control? I’m guilty. I’ve woken up more times than I can count stressing about one thing or another, striving to work out solutions to problems even in my sleep. How often do I let my problems affect my sleep and my mood? Not only do I let the weight of the sphere I carry burden me, but I also let it spill over onto those around me like my family or co-workers. They automatically know to “make scarce” when mom’s upset.

Here I am a mere mortal trying to carry the globe when I have a Heavenly Father who created the entire universe. How quickly do I forget the times God has seen us, though?

I can try to take some comfort in the fact that I’m not the only one. Not long after God performed the miracle of parting the Red Sea to help the Israelites escape slavery in Egypt, the Israelites complained about not having any food to eat. I can imagine God shaking his head, saying, “Do you truly believe I would save you from slavery only to have you starve to death in the desert?” So, God provided them with manna to eat that rained from heaven each night. Next, the Israelites feared they’d not have enough to drink, and God pulled through by telling Moses to hit a rock with a stick and water gushed out. You’d think that would shut them up and they’d learn to trust God, but soon the whining started that manna was getting boring. God provided them with enough quail until it was coming out of their noses.

What does it take to get us to trust that God is going to handle the problem? Can’t we learn vicariously through the Israelites, or do we need quail to come out of our noses to finally believe God’s got this?

World in his hand

Whether it’s paying bills, finding a spouse, getting another job, or fighting for a lost family member, wouldn’t it be nice to take our heavy ball and say “catch” to God? We can then relax in His peace, knowing it’s the size of a pebble in His caring, responsible hands—the same hands that placed the stars in the sky and scooped out the oceans.

God is faithful to see us through. Like the song goes – He’s got the whole world in His hands – so why are we still trying to carry the burden of it?

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