Friday, November 27, 2009
Yesterday was Thanksgiving. It has been an unusual and interesting one as God teaches me so many lessons through it. Above all, I am beginning to hear Him tell me He loves me. That is the number one thing to be thankful for. . . when you can really begin to hear those words.
For this Thanksgiving I volunteered to help my church feed 200 people that were in need of meals. The hard work of cooking and food prep had already been done. About 50 people of all ages showed up to put it all together and get it to the families. It was set up like an assembly line and everyone pitched in doing different tasks. It fell together like a fine symphony and was beautiful to be a part of.
The food was set up like you would for serving a buffet. Helpers grabbed a "to-go" container and got in line. It was filled with turkey, ham, dressing, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy. We then closed the container, put it in its location to be packed with yeast rolls and various desserts, grabbed another container and got back into line.
We were in line for the last time and we were getting done early. I was standing next to a beautiful young lady that was elementary school age. We were talking when they announced that this would be the last time through the lines. The young lady looked up at me and commented how fast and easy it went. We started talking about how when you share work it becomes so much easier and less of a burden to everyone. I told her that back when people built their own houses and barns that all the neighbors would join in to help. This spread the load and made things go faster and easier.
Later I was pondering this. I switched from thinking about the physical to the emotional burdens as well. So many times we try to avoid the things that hurt and distance ourselves from the hurting. We come up with trite things to say like, "It will all get better," "It can't be as bad as all that," or "If you just would believe this or do that, it will go away." These make us feel better and puts a wall between us and the hurting. It keeps us from truly getting involved and really doesn't do anything for the hurting.
The Bible is very clear though about what to do. Job's true friends came and sat with him knowing that their words would not lessen the burden, but their coming and sharing in the pain would. When Jesus arrived at the tomb of Lazarus, he didn't scold them for weeping. He didn't tell them they should be doing something else. He wept full knowing He could and would be telling Lazarus to rise up and come out of that tomb.
The pain of this fallen world is here affecting so many. What would this world be like if we sat beside the hurting, wept with them and gently shared their burden? And then gently taught them about the love of the one who also will share our burdens and lighten them? The one that will bring Peace in the middle of all the chaos and pain?
Then God showed me something else. Something of His magic, if you will. When we share the burden of pain, that burden becomes lighter as we share it. But when we share joy, it grows exponentially and becomes contagious. Only a loving God and Creator could set up such a thing. Totally amazing.