My heart is breaking again, filled with fresh grief at the news of yet another friend who is facing grave illness. “Facing” really isn’t the right word. More like engulfed in it: constant pain, limited mobility, countless medical tests and consultations. As she stoically described her condition, I struggled to hold back my tears until after I hung up the phone. Then, thankful once again for a husband who will let me cry in his arms, I sobbed until I could barely breathe. The rest of the evening was a bit of a blur, except for the whispering of these thoughts within my soul:
- I still believe that God is good and that he is in charge.
- There is no good in the thought that often comes when faced with another person’s sadness, “What if that were my fate as well?” We are each given the strength we need to walk the path chosen for us. We aren’t equipped to walk another’s path. Such an illness is not my path. If it ever is, God will sustain me through it then, as he no doubt is providing for my friend right now. After all, he loves her even more than I do.
But, something has been added to my path, for now have another friend who is hurting. She needs me. For that I can count on the Lord’s supply: comfort in my grief for her, direction as to my part in helping out, and time to do that which He shows me. He is not giving me the grace to be ill, for I am healthy. He is giving me the grace to walk alongside a sick friend, which in and of itself can be very hard indeed.
Bearing one another’s burdens takes on many different meanings, according to the circumstances at hand. Always, though, the call to carry comes with the promise of our Lord’s provision. Ultimately, he is the one bearing those burdens with us. One of the ways he provides is by allowing us to share what we have learned with one another. Have you ever been called upon to help a friend in deep need, or perhaps been the one in need yourself? What did you learn that you can share with me?