I’ve been doing a lot of weight lifting lately. Before you commend me for my athleticism, it’s been more of the emotional kind. I’ve been bearing the burdens of family members and friends and others around me in my sphere of influence as they carry some pretty heavy duty stuff. It’s what I do, by God’s design. Provide emotional support for others to help them navigate through challenges, losses, and heartbreaking circumstances. However, sometimes it gets…unbearable! At the same time, it just doesn’t seem enough. And that weighs heavily, too!
I admitted this to one of my closest friends, whose burdens have been unbearably heavy. It was my intent to encourage her grieving heart. I confessed, however, that I was at a loss as to what to do for her other than carry her to Jesus in prayer.
Not unlike four men in Scripture who didn’t know what else to do with one of their friends except to carry him to Jesus—literally. Talk about weight bearing friends! We read about them in three of the four Gospels (Matthew 9:1–8, Mark 2:1–12, and Luke 5:17–26). It was their prayerful concern for their friend that led them to Jesus. And it was their faith that Jesus responded to.
Nor is it unlike what I personally experienced, come to think of it. Twelve years ago this month I was carried to Jesus like I’d never been carried before. People prayed for me and my family like I’d never been prayed for. Praying prayers I didn’t know how to pray. Some stopped whatever they were doing in the middle of the day to pray. Some were awoken in the middle of the night. And I felt every prayer! It was a remarkable experience and something I’ll never forget. I felt… well, “carried”. There’s no other way to describe it.
I was reminded of that time in my life as my friend began to express her thanks to me for now carrying her to Jesus—the only One who could truly lift her burdens. Baffled, but blessed, by my friend’s boomerang encouragement, I physically sat down and took notes as to how my prayers on her behalf were being effectively used to relieve her of some of the weight she was carrying. Just knowing she wasn’t carrying them alone. That’s when it occurred to me that perhaps what she was saying was exactly what some of you needed to hear, too, to help lighten your load or that of someone else’s you’re bearing.
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple and Dancing in the Rain. Additionally, she has written articles for Just Between Us Magazine and devotionals for theStory. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (3 on earth, 1 in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
To book Lisa for a weekend retreat or day conference contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org