Burdened Beyond Measure
Burdened Beyond Measure
This morning, I sat down to write. As usual I was not sure what direction I needed to go. There were time constraints and distractions galore. The words were not getting on the page. My phone was beeping and ringing and my focus was lost. Frustration quickly set in . . . until I saw the name of the current caller. You see, I have a friend who is going through a very difficult time. My concern for her has been great, but my ability to help has been slight. When I saw her name, my frustration dissipated and my thoughts turned into a prayer. “Lord, give me words. Help me point my friend to You. God, please help her – she is burdened beyond measure.”
As I hung up the phone, I wept. It felt as though her burden was now my burden. I felt her pain, her fear, her sadness. I felt the weight of what she was experiencing. I had the luxury of being able to separate myself from the situation so I could offer encouragement and remind her of God’s promises. I prayed for her earnestly and asked God to reveal Himself to her. She was burdened beyond measure and now I had ahold of her burden as well. Did I say all I could say? Did I do all that I could do?
What are we to do when our friends are burdened? What does God expect from us when others come to us burdened beyond measure? Yes, we can listen. We can offer to pray and even pray with them right then. But, what else? What else can we do? Not sure what else to do, I chose to look for the answer in the only place I know we can find all the answers. I grabbed the handbook for how we are to live, the detailed plan for the Christian walk, and the map that guides us along our journey . . . God’s amazing Word! Yes, not knowing what I should do next, I picked up my Bible and began to read about burdens in Galatians. Galatians 6:2 (NKJV) stopped me in my tracks…
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Bear one another’s burdens? Well, I certainly felt like I was doing that. My shoulders hurt and my heart hurt even more. As I read through Galatians 6:1-5, the words resonated deeper than they ever had before. God’s precious word reminded me that we are to be gentle – gentle in spirit. We should be gentle in our response, our questions and our suggestions. When someone is burdened beyond measure they are fragile and we should treat them as such. We are never to judge. It does not matter if someone’s poor decision brought them here or if this burden was of no doing of their own. We are no better, no more righteous than them. Galatians 6:3 says, “For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” Well, that puts us in our place – right? But, we need to be. We can be shortsighted and if not careful begin to think, “I would never do that. That would never happen to me. My family would never have to go through that.” Oh be careful… Our shortsightedness may cause us to think that we are qualified to offer advice – even when unsolicited. We do not know the answer – but we know the One who does. We are not to examine and judge others. We should only examine our own actions and make sure we are closely following the example of Jesus.
We are to be humble and offer what help we can. We are to offer the same unconditional love that Jesus has offered us and pour out grace – just as we have received grace. Sometimes we need to remind our friend that if God can forgive them - then they can forgive themselves. We are to pray for them - lifting up their burden to God and asking Him for His peace, His comfort, His guidance and His protection. We are to stand firm with our friends. We can remind them of God’s promises; assure them they are not alone and offer them encouragement. We can hold their hand and hug their neck. There is an old saying that goes something like this . . ."A joy shared is a double joy. A burden shared is half a burden."
Although we can help bear their burden – we cannot carry their load. There is only One who can do that. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says,
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Today, we all have people in our lives that are bearing burdens beyond measure. Let’s each be faithful to stand in the gap and pray for those in these fragile situations. Let’s be gentle in our response. Let’s stand firm in our friendship. Let’s reach out and help where we can. Let’s bear one another’s burdens and fulfill the law of Christ.
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