We live in a world full of heartache and sorrow. As I read this verse this morning my mind was flooded with painful images from the past year. Suicide bombers destroy innocent lives and change the lives of those who are left behind for the rest of their life. Natural disasters wipe out homes and alter the landscape of life in more ways that one. Empty stares and malnourished bodies deep in the heart of Africa seem to be a constant reminder of the need for food for so many folks in our world.
The burden of having to deal with natural disasters is widespread, but even more widespread is the heartache that comes from daily life. A marriage begins to fall apart. Hearts and homes are ripped to shreds. A teenager commits suicide and a mom and dad never recover. The loss of a job throws a family into panic. A young mother is told she only has a few months to live. All of these scenarios are real, devastatingly real, and they are experienced by people each and every day.
The heartaches I’ve described are real, but they are not new. They were around in Jesus’ day. He carried the burdens of the broken hearted. He healed the blind man. He traveled across the Sea of Galilee just to bring peace to a man tormented by demons. He rescued a woman caught in adultery. He calls us to do the same. Jesus told His followers.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV)
Jesus didn’t say that people would know that we belong to Him if we build big buildings, possess the latest technology to mesmerize those who gather with us for worship, or have “name recognition” in the community. He said they will know we belong to Him if we love one another. Is there any better expression of love than to carry the burden of someone who is hurting? Strengthen our backs Lord.
My prayer today, Lord, is that You will give me eyes to see the burdens of others and fill me with Your compassion so that I might help shoulder their load.