My sister and I have a joke about the words bear/bare. I never remember which spelling is used when- and so I always have to message her and ask if I can bear it, or bare it.
She is kind enough to remind me that to endure something, I need to bear. But if I really want to just get naked, I can bare myself. 😉
All joking aside, our next verse includes the important word bear-
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. -Colossians 3:13
- to hold up; support
- to hold or remain firm under (a load)
I will cover the second part of the verse in another post. I wanted to focus on the first commandment “bear with each other”. This could mean bearing with others who you don’t get along with easily. But it also means supporting one another during times of struggle and building each other up.
You can’t bear empty weight. There has to be a load to bear. Some would call it a burden.
After you have the right attitude-clothing on, how do you go about actually reaching out to those who are carrying heavy burdens?
How do you bear one another’s burdens in the military life?
Or- what is something someone has done for you that helped you bear your burdens?
I asked these questions on Facebook and received a wonderful response from my friend who blogs about military life on Homefront Six.
I would like to share her thoughts.
“Then a circle of your friends
Will defend the silver lining”
-John Mayer ‘Heart of Life’
Three years ago, my family’s life was turned upside down. The details aren’t important. What IS important is how my military sisters (and brothers) buoyed us in what was probably one of the darkest times we’ve ever faced. The avenues of support were as varied as our friends themselves: meals when the last thing on my mind was cooking (or eating), phone calls at all hours of the day and night to check on us, cards in the mail for no reason other than to let us know we weren’t alone, stopping by just to chat and take our minds off of the darkness threatening to overwhelm our lives, hugs, smiles, and other simple acts of kindness that slip my mind but live in my heart.
Those simple acts of kindness amounted to a lifeboat for us. Through each gesture, I felt God’s love poured upon my family and me. Our local friends also showered us with kindness but it was our military family who truly understood our burdens and our fears and was able to shine a light in an incredibly dark time. If it weren’t for them and God’s love pouring through them, I’m not sure our family would have survived.
Our situation unfolded over the course of many months and, each time a bit of bad news would come along and I would feel as though I just couldn’t withstand one more hit, someone would be there with a smile, a kind word, a perfectly-timed Bible verse that gave me strength, a goody to make me smile, or something funny to make me laugh and take my mind off of things that were far outside my control. And when I felt as though I just didn’t have the energy to ferret out the lessons that God wanted me to learn from all of this, I’d get a small note in the mail quoting a Bible verse that fit my day to a T. Or someone would start up a small Bible study that spoke directly to my heart right at that moment.
It was just like the story in Exodus where God provides just what is needed at just the right time. Nothing more, nothing less. God made sure that we were sustained – through His love and mercy – at that time. He put us right where we needed to be and surrounded us with just the people we needed. We are blessed.
How do you repay kindnesses such as those? You turn around and share those same kindnesses with others – not just military families but anyone who needs them. Which, these days, is just about everyone.
What about you? Do you have a personal testimony of a time in your life when others helped to bear your burdens?
Do you think the body of Christ excels or lacks in this area?