Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection #37

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“Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.’”
Isaiah 35:3-4 (NIV)

When I was in my teens I spent time canoeing in Quetico Provincial Park west of Thunder Bay. Fifteen young guys with one adult leader getting away from it all for two weeks. The trip always included the Cache Lake portages – each being 3 kms long. We had trained in advance and I was assigned to carry one of our 3-man, 17 foot long aluminum canoes. It weighed 87 pounds. I was a scrawny teenager and by the time I was half way across the portage I was done. As I was stumbling across the rocks and roots on the path, our leader came up behind me and I heard him call out “can I help you with that?” I will never forget the relief when that canoe came off my shoulders. The 50-pound backpack that he had been carrying felt like a pillow on my back compared to that canoe.

Some of you are feeling like you have the entire weight of the world on your shoulders at the moment. These are not easy days. It seems like regulations are changing every day, and we aren’t exactly sure what we are allowed to do, or with whom we are allowed to be. Many live in fear of contracting COVID-19, hardly ever leaving their home. Those who are working from home deal with the pressure of one meeting after another, day after day, with limited real human contact. It’s been months now, and emotionally they feel like they are still only half way across the portage.

Isaiah the prophet understood times like this. In Isaiah 35:3-4 we read: “Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.’”

What a wonderful promise this is. In the midst of the most challenging times, you can count on the Lord Jesus coming to lift your burden. Like my leader on the portage, but in a much more profound and spiritual way, the Lord comes up behind us as our spiritual legs are weakening and we find ourselves stumbling through life. He invites us to place the load we are carrying on Him, and He promises that His load is light.

The apostle Peter would say, in 1 Peter 5:7: “Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” You are not alone as you travel this pandemic road. The strong and mighty God, who came into the world as a baby in a Bethlehem manger, is still Immanuel, still God-with-us. He is walking this “portage” with you and the moment you stumble, He is there to carry your load, to bear your burden. So, by faith, take it off your shoulders and place it on Him. He cares for you that much.

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.

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