Geese fly in a V formation because it just makes it easier on each bird in the flock, conserving their energy. Each bird flies just above the bird in front of him. This makes the wind resistance easier on the birds behind him. They take turns being in the front, falling back when they get tired. Because they do it this way, they can fly for a long, long time, making their journey to their next destination shorter.
Geese know that it's not about the individual goose. They step up to the plate and take their turn, bearing the burden of getting to their destination. There is no "it's all about me" mentality among geese, especially when flying.
If we did this with our family and friends in everyday life, I wonder how much easier it would be to sustain the energy we needed to make it through.
Since we don't travel in flocks like geese, this isn't the norm, but we can learn a lesson on bearing heartaches. We can make it easier on those we love by being their for them, stepping up to the plate when life gets hard, and sharing their burdens with them. We can forget about our own needs and heartaches for a while and focus on others. When we ease their burden or heartache, ours suddenly don't seem to matter so much.
"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." ~ Galatians 6:2 (NIV)Shouldering the Load
2) to take up in order to carry or bear, to put upon one's self (something) to be carried
a) to bear what is burdensome
3) to bear, to carry
a) to carry on one's person
b) to sustain, i.e. uphold, support
4) to bear away, carry off
When our family or friends are going through heartache, we can help ease their load by taking some of what is burdensome off of them and putting it on ourselves. Surely we cannot take the pain of a loss or physical pain, which are one in the same to be sure, away, but we can uphold and support them.
The Greek word for burden is baros. It means:
1) heaviness, weight, burden, trouble
You never realize how much your burden, or heartache, weighs until it has been lifted off you. Sure, you can feel it pressing, but until it's lifted, you don't realize what an immense amount of pain you've been carrying alone until you allow someone else to help shoulder the heartache.
Heartaches come in all shapes and sizes. A miscarriage here, infertility there, a job loss here, a cancer diagnosis there, an elderly parent's illness here, the loss of a loved one there.
Recognizing that we cannot bear these burdens alone helps us move and be moved. Outside of prayer, we often must find a pastor, a counselor, a friend, a family member or someone who is willing to help us. Time is a great healer, indeed, but so are people. People have tangible life experience that time just doesn't have.
Fulfilling the Law of Christ
If you're walking through life with no one in crisis, that's great, but I would submit that there are hurting people all around you. Turn your head and look for those around you who are hurting. Ask God to open the eyes of your heart so you can see the hurting people in your life. You have such potential, as a child of the Most High God, to carry the load of a fellow believer. If it's a non-believer, perhaps God will use you in their life somehow to draw them to Him.
We must fulfill the law of Christ by bearing others heartaches. The Greek word for fulfill is anaplēroō. It means:
1) to fill up, make full, e.g. a ditch
2) to supply
Reach out to them.
Pray for and with them.
Cook them a meal.
Send them a card in the mail.
Give them a phone call.
Offer to babysit.
Text them a Bible verse.
Give them a hug without a word being said.
Buy them a book on what they are going through.
Spend time with them doing something they enjoy.
These are some tangible ways we can shoulder their burdens. When we do, our eyes are on others and our troubles seem as light as a feather. Truly, as Abraham Lincoln said, "To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own."
Father, often it's hard to admit our needs. We tend to keep our heartache inside. Help us to be transparent to receive help. Enable our eyes to be opened to see those who are hurting around us. Give us willing spirits to bear their loads and release the load we are carrying. Give us the words to speak and the energy and stamina to help them through their crisis, realizing that as we do, our heartaches become ones that are lifted from us in return. As we minister to those around us help us to always point them to You. May it never be about us, Lord, even though our examples can help. May we only bring the hurting closer to You, Precious Healer. Help us be instruments that point back to Your glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.