Five ways to “carry each other’s burdens.”

I don’t think I’ll ever remember what prompted me to lift up this prayer over and over as a child, but I it’s not a prayer I’ve ever forgotten.

Dear God, if there is someone out there who is going to go through something they can’t handle. You can give it to me instead. No matter what it is, I know you’ll be with me and it will be ok. Amen.

I think of this prayer fairly often, surprised at my little girl self for praying something so dangerous. As an adult, I shake my head, the prayer sounds so masochistic!

Who actually goes around asking God for pain and suffering??

Hey there God, um so, you can give me someone else’s pain and suffering in addition to mine.

Now Jesus did come to redeem us from our sins. He took on our punishment on the cross, washing us clean of our sins.

But…

He did not come to take away our trials. Jesus tells us plainly we WILL go through tribulations {John 16:33}. There’s no mistaking the fact our lives will be filled with yucky stuff and some of that yuck is our own fault.

Yes, God will help us through the tough times, but He has also given us the gift of each other.

God calls us to “carry each other’s burdens,” God isn’t telling us to take someone’s trial from them, like Jesus took on our punishment for our sin {no, we’re not going down the “this :bad thing:: happened because I’m a bad person” road, God doesn’t work in that way}.

Our struggles serve a purpose. Though I doubt many of us understand the purpose in the midst of our trial. Truth be told, most of us aren’t looking for the reason until the trial has passed and we have an opportunity t0 look back and see God’s hand at work.

God has every right to spare us from any given test of faith or scheme of the devil. But how many times would we recognize this sparing unless it was a “near miss” situation?

There is no telling how many times God has spared us from something that never happened!

Read that again.

It’s easy for us to say, “wow! I was almost in a car wreck!” Harder each day to remember, “wow, I got to work for the millionth time without getting into an accident!”

So then, if our struggles have a purpose, how can we help our loved ones

To carry is to help share the load. Lifting one another up. You can…

1. Give them Jesus. We have to be careful not to assume they know Him. Love them the way Jesus loves you.

2. Pray for them. Depending on the situation, it could be a one time prayer or a commitment to pray for an extended period of time. Sometimes, when you are far away from one another, a simple text to say you prayed can make a world of difference.

3. Actively listen. We are so eager to fix things and though helping to fix a situation isn’t inherently bad, we sometimes forget to simply listen and allow a person to verbally process what they are experiencing.

4. Talk about something else. Sounds counter intuitive, but if you’ve even been through a painful time in your life, sometimes you just need to talk about rainbows and unicorns for a while. Let them decide when to bring “it” up.

5. Send an encouraging Scripture or note. Follow your words with a little bit of love in action. It can’t hurt to tack that note onto a plate of cookies or an offer to watch their kids or clean their house or a free mani/pedi or six pack of Shiner or all of the above.

It’s not rocket science, God never intended for “carrying each other’s burdens” to be complicated. In fact, I bet you have heard me say these same things a few many times before.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

There is no way of knowing if the trials I’ve encountered were indeed intended for someone else to endure, but something tells me the trials I’ve experienced have been purely for the sake of drawing me closer to Him.

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