Shonebarger

The heartaches of life can come unexpectedly. Whether it is the news of a friend or loved one killed in a car accident, the diagnosis at the hospital of a terminal illness or the loss of a job, life is full of bitter tears and solemn contemplations. Feelings of loneliness and its companion, grief, are very difficult to process. Life it seems, is full of burdens. So often it seems we stagger from one setback to another. Yes, life can be very hard to bear.

The dark, lonely valleys we sojourn are not meant to be traveled alone. It is our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who yearns to guide us with His rod and staff on the path to security and peace of mind. The comfort found in the presence of our tender and merciful Lord sustains us in these moments of crisis. In addition, it is God’s plan for us to have a kindred spirit, a fellow sojourner, to assist us during the darkness.

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2).

The beloved Apostle Paul had experienced many heartaches in his service to Christ. He had experienced rejection, physical and spiritual abuse, as well as loss. Paul testified he had experienced the “fellowship of His sufferings…” (Philippians 3:10).

This testimony prompted the battle-scarred Apostle to exhort the disciples of Jesus to bear one another’s burdens. This is the heart of Jesus. The law of Christ is to love others as you love yourself; to demonstrate concern, compassion and tender mercies.

The Apostle John reclined on the bosom of Jesus at the Last Supper and heard the heartbeat of God! His life and ministry would be transformed. John’s focus would be on people who were lost and wayward, in need of a friend, and someone to bear their burdens. Take a moment to listen to the heartbeat of God!

The Lord cares about the mother who just had a miscarriage. He cares about the widower who lost his lifelong companion. The Lord cares about the child whose parent died on the battlefield in Afghanistan. The Lord cares about the worker who has lost their job due to COVID-19. And so should we also care. We must fulfill the law of Christ.

As a Christian, we must focus on growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Studying Bible doctrine along with its principles and precepts is needed in Christian discipleship. However, growing in grace requires us to deepen our love for the things Christ loves; to be Christ-like, to live life for His glory. We must be the hands, feet, arms and voice of our beloved Savior.

Let us communicate with, console and comfort the burdened friend. Let us take the time to be there. Let us not say, “Call me if you need anything.” There is much they need in this traumatic moment! Be like the man of Cyrene, Simon, who carried the cross of Jesus and bore His burden! (Matthew 27:32). We are called to make a difference.

Have a great week, touch a life and remember, Jesus loves YOU!

Contact Jon Shonebarger at jtshonebarger@gmail.com.

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