11/1/21 Devotional from Ed
November 1, 2021
Text: Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."
Devotional: I wonder how many hands would be raised if we asked the following question during worship: "By show of hands, how many of you are "weary and are carrying heavy burdens?"
And, I wonder what would happen if we followed it up with an additional statement: "Keep your hands up if you always turn to God when you're weary."
Would some of the hands go down? I know I'm exceptionally good at thinking I can work out a "heavy burden" on my own. While I may be good at "thinking" it, the outcome in many (if not most) cases suggest that a good thought doesn't necessarily lead to a good outcome.
Theologian Kate Bowler, mom of a young child, Duke Divinity School professor, and stage 4 colon cancer survivor, had a resume full of accomplishments when she received her horrifying diagnosis in her thirties. The plans she had made, the life she had dreamed, the children she anticipated, all were put on hold as she and her family traveled back and forth from Durham to Atlanta for experimental treatment.
In addition to her physical treatment, she received frequent advice to help her mentally face the many challenges. She recalls the following conversation with "Peter," her psychologist, in her book, No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear):
"Peter says that he is not in the habit of giving advice, but he can tell that I won't settle for generalities. So he tells me that he learned a secret from hikers of the Appalachian Trail. People who dare to attempt the whole trail face down more than six months of lugging their belongings over more than two thousand miles of daunting terrain. Because eager beginners start their trek carrying heavy packs brimming with tarps and tents, cooking utensils and flasks and granola bars, that first stop in this long journey is the most important one. The hiker is already starting to flag, but they have only just begun. They have reached a moment of decision, the moment to ask, 'What can I set down?' The extra cooking pot. The fleece hoodie.
'This will be a hard journey,' he says. 'Is there anything you can set down?"
Forest Lake family, is there anything you/me/us can set down? And, if we can't set something down, where do we turn?
Prayer: Dear God, Fill us with your Spirit this day and beyond. Grant us the boldness to set something down. And grant us the vulnerability to come to you when we're weary. Amen.
Work Cited: Bowler, Kate. No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear). (New York: Random House, 2021), 40.