Thursday, July 2, 2009

Burden Bearers

As Christians we are often admonished to help others in very practical ways with the burdens they bear. Obviously, we are no substitute for God, whose broad shoulders are ultimately those who can take on any worries, stresses, or problems we have in life when we will leave them with Him. Yet, we can make a difference in the lives of our fellow Christians by being willing to be used by God to meet some of their needs.

Some Christian friends proved this point these last few weeks as they ministered to us in a very tangible way. Moving is rarely an easy process, but moving from overseas can be a nightmare. For three weeks in June of this year two of my older children and I closed up our house and ministry in Senegal. We sold or gave away the majority of our belongings, but there were also many personal mementos, clothes, books, photos, and other items we really didn't want to leave behind. We didn't have the funds or quantity of items we were keeping to use a shipping container, so we opted to take what we wanted back in our luggage. The problem with this method, though, are the new fifty pound airline restrictions on bags that mean that many times you are sending back luggage that is only half full. Taking extra bags beyond your allowance is financially prohibitive, as well, so we were caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

The solution? Many of our friends were traveling back to the States either for a brief visit or returning from a vacation. This meant that they would be traveling under their two-piece per person luggage allowance. Obviously, this would have made their traveling easier, but comfort took second place to ministering to us. We ended up having nine people carry extra bags for us and then sending them to us here by UPS or FedEx. What a blessing! Rather than being able to bring back only six pieces of luggage we were able to come back with or send with friends a total of fifteen! Sure, there were things we left behind, but we are so thankful for our brothers and sisters in Christ that enabled us to bring back to the States so much more than we expected.

Psalm 68:19 in the NIV says "Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens." We are thankful for that and also happy that He uses others to bear our bags when necessary.



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