The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows when
The road is long and many of the turns lead to sadness, disappointment and grief. I understand why so many Christians are reluctant to jump into unvarnished and honest relationship with other believers. Immersing yourself in the lives of others is messy, sad and difficult. And in a great paradox of our faith, it is the most fulfilling thing you can do. I have taken the risk of trusting a group of men with everything that is true about me. They have done the same with me. That commitment to trust these men with my weakness has been one of the best things I have ever done to grow in my faith. We have shared triumphs and tragedy. Hilarity and heartbreak. We have confessed our fears and exposed our shame to the healing power of relationship in the light of the Holy Spirit. Putting all of your cards on the relationship table is a scary play. But when you play all of your cards and you are still loved it is the most exhilarating and freeing thing you can imagine.
So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We'll get there
But I'm strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain't heavy, he's my brother
That is the beauty of Christian community. Even when the burden you are sharing with your brother is difficult and messy you don’t feel put upon. You feel honored and blessed to share the load. You know that your time is coming and you are grateful that these brothers will be there for you. That is how it should work. That is what Paul was writing about to the church in Galatia when he instructed them to “share” one another’s burdens. The Message has a fresh twist on a familiar passage.
Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ's law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived. (Galatians 6, The Message)
Sometimes I have been the one who has been strong and had the privilege of carrying my brother. Recently I have had to reach out to them for strength. The miracle of grace is that it never feels heavy to share your brother’s burden. I will confess that part of my learning process has been to allow others to be strong for me. I love to help others but I often chose to not “bother” others with my trials. That ain’t how this journey works. I deny others the privilege of serving when I foolishly try to be self-sufficient. My pride short circuits the healing ministry of grace in community.
It's a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we're on the way to there
Why not share
And the load doesn't weigh me down at all
He ain't heavy, he's my brother
I am grateful that Scripture recognizes our need for one another on this journey. Share your journey with your brothers and sisters in Christian community. I know that some have tried and been wounded. Some have tried and been ignored. I have been there too. I encourage you (make that plead with you) to not give up. Pray for those connections. Maybe you need to be the one who takes the risk to start building a room of grace for other brothers and sisters to find healing. This isn’t easy. Worthwhile endeavors rarely are.