Shoulder the Burden of Others
Fleta R. Robinson

It was late at night. I had gone to bed, but tho’ tired somehow felt wide awake. Numerous pressures and concerns were on my mind. What to do? How to handle the stress? were questions that concerned me.

My husband and I had a good prayer time together, then he slept. I didn’t. Since it was nearly midnight and tomorrow’s duties were large in my mind. I needed to sleep.

Or did I?

I turned on the little bedside lamp and reached for my Phillips translation of the New Testament. Without deciding about a particular chapter or verse, or locating the book marks, I simply took a moment to ask God to show me His choice of what I should read and opened the Bible.

Obviously this had been meaningful and directive before because it was underlined. J.B. Phillips had given this section of Romans 15 a title: (emphasis mine)

Christian behavior to one another

“We who have strong faith ought to shoulder the burden of the doubts and qualms of others and not just to go our own sweet way. Our actions should mean the good of others – should help them to build up their characters. For even Christ did not choose His own pleasure, as it is written:

‘The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell upon me.’

“. . . when we read in the Scripture of the endurance of men and of all the help that God gave them in those days, we may be encouraged to go on hoping in our own time. May the God who inspires men to endure . . . give you a mind united toward one another because of your common loyalty to Jesus Christ. . . . you will sing from the heart the praises of God the Father . . . open your hearts to one another as Christ has opened His heart to you – and God will be glorified.”

I knew immediately why God directed me to that chapter. God has been developing this very idea in my mind and spirit for weeks. I have lots of weaknesses, but trusting God is not one of them. He is my strength! His strength within any Christian far surpasses physical weakness, the emotional pain of being misunderstood, the mistakes we make, rejection from others, etc. We are directed to rely on His strength.

Father, once again I give to You my inadequate self. I accept your offered strength to “shoulder the burden of the doubts and qualms of others” because it is not I, but YOU within me, who can do it. Thank You, Father! I am grateful – so grateful to belong to You.

Farther in the chapter I see “be radiant with hope.” May that be true of me. May that be true of all of us! The apostle Paul closes this chapter with this excellent benediction:

“The God of peace be with you all, amen.”

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