The Upper Room devotional reflection for Wednesday, June 29, 2022 comes to us from Susan Wakefield Dal Porto of Illinois.
1 My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. 4 All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor's work, will become a cause for pride. 5 For all must carry their own loads.
Galatians 6:1-5 NIV
One sunny autumn afternoon, my adult son and I hiked through a local forest. We stopped at a tree that had a large hollow near the ground. When I stuck my head inside the hollow, my son cautioned that animals might be living there; but it was completely empty. We were amazed that even with its core missing, the outer part of the tree remained strong. Similarly, even when people appear stable and strong, they may have a broken heart or troubled soul. One Sunday our pastor invited us to pray with someone near us. I was sitting near a woman with whom I frequently have casual conversations, and I asked if she needed prayer. Her face crumpled in pan as she said, “Pray for my daughter – for our relationship.” It was a rare moment of vulnerability when a private heartbreak was revealed.
People I cross paths with each day may be like hollow tree. I am rarely given a chance to peer into the hollow and offer grace or support. Further, I am rarely vulnerable enough to reveal my own hurts and heartbreaks to others. But as art of God’s love for us all, God encourages us to look into the hollows in ourselves and others and to respond with love.
I love Susan’s image of a tree that is strong, even though it has a large hollow in its trunk. I know that feeling sometimes. It has been my experience in life that friends whom I can trust and with whom I feel safe to share my soul struggles are one of God’s greatest gifts to me. I pray that I can return that gift to God by making myself available to others who sometimes feel like they have a hollow core. I invite you to call to mind those whom God has sent to so that you have been empowered to share your hollow places. Have you been able to return that gift to others? This is one more way in which God has blessed each of us so that we can be a blessing to others.
Dear God, help us to bear one another’s burdens – to give others a space to reveal their hurts and concerns, and to trust enough to reveal our burdens to others. Amen.
--Susan Wakefield Dal Porto
People who are struggling silently.
Thought for the Day:
God encourages me to share my burdens with others.