The question of whether or not to go on had been taken away; the situation was, get to water or continue suffering; a rock and a hard place. There was nothing else to do but sling the backpack back over our shoulders and amble on. Some broke down along the path. There was nothing left in reserve, it had all been consumed. There were those who could not saddle up, the pack was just too heavy and it could no long be shouldered. Someone else was going to have to carry the load and someone did.
It is interesting how much can be learned from backpacking in the mountains. When you are in the wilderness there is very little you are in control over. The weather, the accuracy of the map, the amount of water you need to drink, the terrain, the exhaustion, the amount of oxygen in the air, all of these and so much more is mostly out of your hands. It is a good lesson for life’s journey; you are in control of almost nothing. Job found this out when he questioned God and God probed him with some very hard questions:
Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:1-7 ESV)
God made it very clear; it is he that is in control of this world and not us.
Yet this is does not satisfy the souls longings and groaning, especially when the burdens of life get too heavy and collapse feel imminent. The Heavenly Father has an answer for that as well. Jesus says;
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)
Just like Jesus, there is a call for believers to carry one another’s burdens. Like the backpacking trail, the pack of life can get too heavy to carry and another step cannot be gone, so the call is to unload not only on The Father but one another.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:12-13 ESV)
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. (Galatians 6:1-3 ESV)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ESV)
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV)
So, brothers and sisters do not walk alone. Remember what Paul says in Corinthians;
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. (1 Corinthians 12:12-26 ESV)
Carry one another, bear the load that is too heavy for each other and love one another just as Christ loved you and took our burdens to the cross and paid the ultimate price for our freedom to walk in newness of life. Feel the freedom of a pack-less back and the view from the top!