We recently completed a much-needed remodeling project in our basement. Living in a smaller-sized home has its advantages…it’s relatively easy to upkeep, it tends to emote a sense of coziness, the utilities are gentle on the wallet, and most importantly, if you lose something, there are less places for the missing object to hide. But among the disadvantages of a smaller abode is the lack of storage space. Thus, in an attempt to lesson that disadvantage, our basement remodeling project was birthed, with a concerted effort to organize what we have gathered over forty plus years, to dispose of what was no longer needed, and to add some creative storage solutions by way of shelving. When the project was completed, I decided to use one newly-installed wooden shelf for food storage, a do-it-yourself pantry of sorts, and I set about the task of gathering some canned goods to sustain us through the upcoming winter season…heavy cans…lots of heavy cans…WAY too many heavy cans. I’m sure you have a sense of where this wife’s bright idea is going to end.
As I was adding just a few more cans yesterday, I heard an ominous sound, the sound of creaking wood, wood that could no longer bear the weight being forced upon it, wood that was at its breaking point. I was not timid in expressing my contempt for this inanimate piece of lumber…how dare it creak and sag, this is expensive wood, well-anchored to the wall, the finished product of weeks of labor. With my frustration with the situation laid bare, I set about the task of removing the heavy cans from the strained shelf. It wasn’t until my anger cooled and I could stand back and examine the situation, that I realized, with a bit of shame, that this lone piece of wood was not only supporting the weight that I was stacking above it, but also the stress of the fully-packed clothing rods hanging below it. And at that moment, the Lord reminded me of an important truth.
Could we all agree that 2020 has been one stress-packed year? So many in our sphere of influence are facing challenges that are eating away at their stamina and strength. Our dear senior saints have been locked into a world of isolation at a time in their lives when human contact is most craved. Once gainfully employed folks have found their economic foundation shaken. Previously healthy adults have been brought to their knees, thanks to a merciless virus. Children have lost the security of the familiar and thrust into a world of masking and distancing. Young mothers have been forced to wade into the unfamiliar, sometimes unnerving, waters of home-schooling for the first time. Political rhetoric has divided the closest of friends and inflicted painful wounds that will not heal easily. Even those of us with the firm foundation of Jesus Christ have had to adapt our lives to the situation, even altering one the most cherished of our possessions…our worship service. Perhaps at no other time in recent history have those God-inspired words, “Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop,” been more relevant, more timely, more evident.
Although the tendency during this dark time may be to become introspective, complain about our own lot in life, gripe about the unending mandates and inconveniences and difficulties, perhaps our time would be better spent bearing the burdens of others, seeking to ease another’s weight of stress, encouraging someone to look up and focus on the Savior instead of wallowing in despair. Perhaps we could be as Aaron and Hur, who lifted up and supported the weary arms of Moses when his “hands were heavy.” Perhaps we could remember that “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones,” and that even though heaviness DOES cause the heart of man to stoop, “…a good word maketh it glad!” Could we not take on the role of the Comforter’s ambassador and “strengthen” a heavy-laden soul and “assuage” their grief? Could we not come alongside, lovingly listen, be sensitive to needs, and simply be kind?
As I removed those heavy cans from my overwhelmed shelf and replaced that load with some lighter-weight plastic storage units, I was reminded of an important command, the command to “consider one another,” to “minister grace” to those around me, to “edify one another.” How many folks around me are creaking under the weight, desperate for someone to lift that load and brighten their day. If those heavy cans would have remained upon that shelf, the results would have been disastrous mess when the structure failed. Many around me may be on the edge of the same type of collapse. God help me to bear “another’s burdens” today, find a kind, unexpected deed, or a soothing word, to comfort a discouraged, overloaded soul today.
Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
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