Sunday, July 12, 2020

Carrying the Load


by Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 NLT

The bundle loomed larger…and his arms grew heavier. 

My wife and I, along with another couple, were enjoying our final camping trip with our two oldest grandboys before they moved to another state, ten hours away. Both of us had already experienced a few sobbing spells, but we were careful not to let the boys see us. Not yet anyway. Maybe on moving day.

Thankfully, both of these grandboys love to hike trails in the mountains—as long as they aren’t too strenuous. Oconee State Park in Mountain Rest, South Carolina, has several trails that dot the park. So, on the second day of our camping trip, I chose an easy one that meandered only a half-mile. My friend and I had hiked it two weeks before, so I knew the boys could handle it. 

Getting to the trail by road proved more difficult than the trail itself. In fact, both boys were pooped before we arrived at the trailhead. After a break and a few gulps of water, we entered the woods and began the trail. I led, the boys followed, and our friend brought up the rear. Periodically, I stopped to help the boys identify particular trees and wildflowers—and just to make sure they were okay.

On one of my looks around, I noticed my oldest grandson had picked up a few sticks. I thought, He’s gathering these to start the fire they wanted so we could roast marshmallows. But when I commented to that effect, he said an emphatic, No! These were for his collection, not a fire. 

“Well, I don’t know how you’re going to get them home,” I commented. “Your Meme will not let you put them in her van.”

We walked on, and every time I glanced back, he had a few more sticks in his little arms. By the time we finished the short trail, his pile of sticks had reached his chin. 

“You sure you don’t want to put down some of those sticks,” I asked.

“Nope.”

As we headed back down the road to our campsite, I occasionally glanced behind me. I could see the sticks tiring him. But he’s persistent. No matter how many times I asked, he would not put any of them down to lighten his load. Nor would he consent to use them as firewood. 

When we were within five minutes of our campsite, I looked back one more time. I could tell by the pain on his face—even though he tried to hide it with a smile—that he wasn’t going to make it. For some reason, those sticks were important to him.

“Hey Bud, you want Pop to help you carry some of those sticks?” I asked as I thought about what Paul told early believers.

He nodded his head. I grabbed half of them and watched a smile cross his face. We made it back to camp with all of his sticks. And, yes, later, he consented to use them to start the fire we’d use to roast marshmallows. I’ll never forget the good feeling I got when I helped my little tike of a grandson carry his load. A small effort of my part, but a big help for him. I hope he never forgets it either. 

Opportunities abound for us to help others carry their loads. I recall the time when my wife did it by cooking meals for our neighbor as she cared for her husband who had suffered a stroke. All we have to do is pray, and God will send us carrying opportunities. Times when we can demonstrate empathy to others, not just sympathy. Sympathy feels sorry for, but empathy puts ourselves in someone else’s position and attempts to feel as they feel—which always puts a different perspective on things. 

A good feeling rushed over me as I took half of the sticks from my young grandson. In the grand scheme of things, doing that seemed like a small thing. Of all the needs in the world, helping to carry sticks didn’t seem like much, but in God’s eyes my act probably seemed more significant than I could have imagined. And probably in my young grandson’s too. 

Helping others carry their load gives them hope—something our world needs more of. 

Ask God for opportunities to help someone carry their load. 

TWEETABLE
Carrying the Load - encouragement from Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)


Martin Wiles is the founder of Love Lines from God (www.lovelinesfromgod.com) and serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions, Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, and Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. He has authored six books and has been published in numerous publications. His most recent book, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes in a Busy World, released in December 2019. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, author, and pastor.

7 comments:

  1. I agree that helping to carry another’s load is more important than we think. In addition to praying for others who are enduring difficult situations, thank you for this timely reminder to do something tangible to ease their burdens!

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  2. There's many ways in which we can apply the gift of helps in this world. Helping another carry their burden, if only for a little while, is often as much a blessing to you as it is to them. God certainly rewards us for the effort. I think that's why we are so joy-filled when we do it. God's blessings Mr. Martin.

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  3. Helping each other carry loads in life. That is one way to show God's love. Thank you for this inspiring message.

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  4. I remember this well! What would any of us do if God wouldn’t carry our loads! His Mercy and Grace are immeasurable! Thank you Marty for reminding us of what Hod calls it’s time do for others!

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  5. I find that when I help someone carry their load, I am the one who is blessed! Thanks, Martin.

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