Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Lessons on Burden Bearing

Why do we carry burdens? Why do we hurt so badly and feel so helpless? Why do we get weary and our defenses lower? What causes the heaviness felt so real in the chest it’s as though bricks were piled there? What brings on the shortness of breath? Why, why does God command us to share in such feelings of hopelessness and deprivation? Why is it a command, not a suggestion or an aside? If I’m not mistaken, it says somewhere in Galatians, “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” How is that the deciding factor, the crowning point of following and completing the law?

I suppose it teaches us to get messy. That life is messy. To roll up our sleeves and get involved in one another’s lives. I guess you could say it’s a part of being that “living sacrifice” Paul talks about in Romans 12. The step beyond the dos and don’ts, it’s the action that replaces the inaction. It’s stepping outside of our comfort zone—we can control how we obey the law, but we can’t control people, their emotions, and relationships. It’s a messy affair but we are called to it, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Life is unpredictable. We could laugh one minute and be on the verge of tears the next. Someone could be a Christian school headmaster and football coach at one stage in life and then be diagnosed with cancer of the lymph nodes and kidney before the age of 40. Some one else could be hysterically amused by the simpleness of Blue Bugs, sweet tarts, and blue ink early on in life only to come to an incomprehensible impasse with life in general at a later time.

Such is life after the fall. We laugh, we cry. We are commanded to share in both because that is how Christ has chosen to incarnate the message of the gospel—through the practical, tangible mercy of bearing one another’s burdens. We are not meant to be alone no matter how badly we may wish to retreat to a corner and hide.

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