October 15, 2010

Bearing One Another's Burdens

The other day someone made a comment to me about prayer requests that got me thinking. It was something like "It's nice to know people's prayer needs, but gee, sometimes they make you feel so heavy."

I replied, "I guess that's why it's called 'bearing each other's burdens.'"  I have heard the verse from Galatians 6 for as long as I can remember.

Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

I have always thought of the verse as figurative, and not literal. The conversation actually took place in the ladies' room, and as I stood in front of the mirror, watching the water run over my hands, I wondered if that weight that we feel when we pray is a literal weight that has been lifted from those for whom we are praying. Is it really possible to help ease the deepest kind of pain through our prayers? Even the kind of pain that people must walk through in order to find healing on the other side?

I hope it is. Today I will attend a memorial service for a high school senior who took his life earlier this week. I cannot begin to comprehend the pain his family is enduring, a pain that will never entirely go away. His school has suffered a series of tragedies over the last few years, and his classmates are deeply hurting over this loss, too. There are countless others who are grieving over his loss. We'll never know how many lives this young man touched in his short life, or the positive impact those people will have on others they meet, just because they knew him.

I know his parents. If this could happen to them, it could happen to any family. They are two of the sunniest, most positive people I have ever known. They love the Lord. They are devoted to their children. They're on top of things with their kids, but they couldn't know what was going on in their son's head. They could not know the hurts that he was hiding inside. And yet, for the rest of their lives, there will be moments when they question those truths.

Their prayer is that God will be glorified through their loss, and that what satan intended for evil, God will use for good. I'm asking you to join me today in helping to lift the burden they are carrying through your prayers. I'm asking you to pray that God will, indeed, be glorified. Whether you are reading this post the day of his memorial service or long after it's over, I'm asking you to say a prayer for this family, for the young man's friends and classmates, asking God to heal their wounds, remove all doubt, and that they will feel God's healing arms wrapped around them, holding them close.

I know our prayers won't make the pain disappear instantly. Just as God designed our bodies to heal from physical injury, God designed our spirits to heal from emotional pain. Grief is a necessary part of that and it takes time. But I believe that our prayers can help ease the grief of others, and that those prayers can bring a peace that surpasses understanding to those for whom we are praying.

Will you pray with me?

To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. ~ Jude, verse 25

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