“To bear someone else’s burdens is to sympathize, identify with, and become involved in the person’s life so they do not have to face it alone. In Christ, God literally identified with us, becoming human, bearing not only sufferings of mortality but also the judgement we deserve for sin, a weight that literally crushed him.” Timothy Keller, the Songs of Jesus, pg. 149
This morning as I read and pray I am identifying and sympathizing with a family who just suffered an unexpected loss. On one hand, I can identify and sympathize because I have known grief and the painful loss of a loved one. On the other, the pain of a loss can vary. Grief is slightly different given the relationship to the one you lost. Because I was not close with some extended family members, there was sadness. The ones who have gone on before me with whom I had deep, intimate relationships, well, that broke my heart into many pieces. I have not experienced the loss that this family has. While I can identify and sympathize, I find that I can’t really. Psalm 68:19 and the words of Timothy Keller this morning bring gratitude for our Lord who, right now, is the only One who can meet the needs of this dear family. I am grateful that He is bearing their burden, walking with them in a way only He can. He walks along this unexpected path they now find themselves on and He can minister His love and grace in ways no one else will be able to do.
In no way does this dismiss the need for the body of Christ to come alongside this family. While we minister imperfectly, He will do so perfectly.
Who do you know today that needs your sympathy? What has the Lord brought you through? Is now the time for you to reach back and help someone else through? No one should face it alone. Because of Christ you and I can come alongside the hurting and bear their burdens.
Kathy Withers is on staff at America’s Keswick and serves as Director of Partner Care. Kathy has been married to her husband Dave for 30 years. They have two adult children. Kathy is active in her local Church and teaches a Bible Study for women. Her passion is to encourage women to deepen their walk with Jesus Christ by finding and living out the truths of God’s Word.