We are not meant to be alone.
Bearing one another's burdens means something different to each of us. So much of our interpretation of daily life is dependent upon our own experiences. Sometimes our interpretation of events is accurate, sometimes not so much. As believers we are called to constantly press into how God would have us interpret our circumstances versus how we chose to interpret them.
There is, at times, a feeling of helplessness when someone we love is struggling with difficulties beyond their control. Bearing the burden may mean jumping in to provide meals, carpooling kids to school, or taking a friend to the doctor. Often times though, bearing a burden is taking the time to listen, to cry together, to hear from someone full of pain and pray together with heavy hearts. It's BEING there.
Watching someone we love walk through times of suffering is incredibly difficult and emotionally taxing. When we do as God commands by bearing our loved-one's burdens, the emotional context of our situation changes. Our hearts are now driven to make life easier for someone in times of difficulty. Our sadness is turned to action, our helplessness becomes hope, and our grief is sent to God in prayer. Our Creator is a God of action and He calls us to DO something. We are to be PRESENT.
Actively looking for ways to serve people around us brings purpose to our movement and joy to our hearts, even in times of sadness and trial. When we look at suffering as moments of opportunity placed before us, moments to do good to everyone, we not only serve another but have the added benefit of filling days with meaning. Even in ministry we sometimes forget it's not about planning events, but instead what happens after the event. Worship services mean little if we only care about filling seats and not about each person sitting in a chair.
So what does ministry look like in our families? Every believer is called to some form of ministry; whether by vocation, with our family and friends, in our schools or with people around us, there are individuals in our lives who benefit from our care and concern. And I'm not talking about the one-time donation or meal (those are definitely awesome and very necessary!), but rather the care that requires something more of us long term. Endurance, tenacity, stability, dependability, self-control, and amazing fortitude - the kind of care the requires digging deep, pulling from the well of God's living water, and asking for help from the supernatural resources of the body of Christ. How do I continue to provide for others when I myself am incredibly weary??
Nothing teaches us how to depend on God more than walking through suffering with people we love. We remember that we love others, because God first loved us. That Jesus himself suffered on this earth, yet he does not despise it. We are not to be absent to spare ourselves pain, but we pursue spiritual growth and emotional endurance so we are better able to provide for others. Christians are to use every opportunity to do good to everyone, even when it is hard. And we are not moving through life solo. God provides through his Church, the Holy Spirit, and our Savior - supernatural resources at our disposal.
We are not meant to walk alone.
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." (Galatians 6:9-10 ESV)
This week our podcast features Chris Hurt, along with his wife Shanda. Last week Shanda shared her amazing testimony about deepening her walk with with God through her struggles with Multiple Sclerosis. Today, Chris joins her to discuss the ups and downs of watching someone you love struggle physically and emotionally, and where he succeeded and failed in his efforts to support Shanda through her diagnosis and beyond. This is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. We hope you are encouraged by their transparency and joy as they share openly about how God continues to move in their lives both individually and as a couple.