Note from CM: My new book, Walking Home Together, has two companion booklets. Today, I present an excerpt from one of them: Guide Them Safely Home, Lord: A Caregiver’s Companion. The booklet consists of 4 weeks of readings (5 days each week), designed to give encouragement to those who care for others.
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Bearing (and sharing) burdens
Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.
• Galatians 6:2
Sometimes as I deal with my patients and their caregivers, it’s the religious people that befuddle me most. One cliché I have heard repeatedly from caregivers who are people of faith is, “I just try to remember that God tells us he will never give us more than we can bear.”
I hate to burst your bubble, but God never said that. Never. Said. That.
I’m not sure where that cliché came from, but it is not in the Bible. Jesus didn’t say it. Paul said something like it in 1 Corinthians 10:13, but if you check you will see that he is talking about our common temptations and how God provides the means we need to escape them. The text does not say, “God will never give us more than we can bear.” Nope. Somebody made that one up.
The plain fact is that there are burdens in life that are too heavy for any one person to carry.
For some reason, many well-intentioned folks don’t want to accept that. So they try to handle challenges that are simply beyond their ability to deal with alone. The results usually aren’t good.
That’s when I direct them to another verse in the Bible that is clear and unambiguous: “Bear one another’s burdens…” Is not this verse telling us that everyone needs help sometimes? There are loads that are too heavy for one person to carry, and we can’t do it all by ourselves. So, help each other out! That’s pretty clear, right?
One more thing: I also won’t buy it if you tell me that since God helps you carry your burdens, you don’t need other people to assist you. This is the same God who said that it is not good for us to be alone. God created us to live in relationships, families, and communities for the very purpose of loving and supporting each other. God wants you to get help from others!
Instead of what I often hear, I’d love it if more caregivers would say, “God regularly gives me more than I can bear. That’s why I love and appreciate his gift of others in my life so much.”