Writer, editor, stumbler after Jesus

We get to carry each other

MANY YEARS AGO, a respected Christian leader in England faced a devastating health challenge with one of his children. Well-known for his joyful faith, this person was crushed by the weight of the “why’s” and “what-if’s.”

He felt a bit of a fraud—after all, he had long preached about God being good all the time and trusting Him through hard times, and here he was floundering a bit when things got close to home. He couldn’t even find the strength to pray.

Fortunately, he and his wife were part of an informal group of leaders, who came around them. “You just take care of the kids and take care of each other,” these friends told the couple. “We’ll handle the praying and the faith for you for now.”

That story came to mind this past week when I found myself facing a situation involving a loved one, and a need that seemed way beyond anything that was possible. I believed that God could do a miracle—theoretically, at least. I just wasn’t sure that He wanted to, I realized. Hard times, like a family crisis or a global pandemic, have a way of bringing to the surface what’s going on in our hearts, beneath the platitudes and “proper” answers.

I texted a few friends to ask for prayer. One came back and wanted to know the nitty gritty details of the need. Their next words were piercing: “I want to ask the King and believe.”

The quiet confidence in that short phrase jolted something awake inside. It reminded me that our God is a loving Father for whom nothing is too hard. He wants us to bring our needs and concerns to Him—or to bring them on behalf of others when they aren’t able to, for one reason or another. It’s part of getting to “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2).

I’m reminded of the paralyzed man whose buddies stretchered him to Jesus, making a hole in the roof of the house to get him where he could encounter God. Sometimes we need people to do the heavy lifting—when we can’t manage because we’re crippled (by doubt, disbelief, despair?). As Bono sang, “We get to carry each other.” I’m grateful to be part of a community that offers such help and comfort.

Photo by dkeg on Foter.com/CC BY-NC-ND

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