Last Sunday night the radio announced that school was canceled in our county the next day because of the prediction of rain, sleet, and freezing rain. I had an appointment the next morning and wondered if it would also be canceled, or if the roads would be too icy for me to drive there. However, when I got up Monday morning, there was only rain. I went to the appointment and found the office nearly empty. Very few people had ventured out that morning. I began to think that we in the South must have a phobia of even the prediction of ice! Then I found out that the doctor almost did not make it to the office that morning. There was a sheet of ice on the road in front of his house. He made the decision to come only when he saw the salt truck go by. And then he came the whole way following it and driving in 4-wheel drive. Later I found out there was also a 35-car pile-up on the interstate near us, due to ice on the roads. What I had seen as an unnecessary fear and an over-reaction to the weather forecast, was a big event – and dangerous – for many other people.
Sometimes it seems we respond to people and their trials in the same way I responded to the “ice” event. People tell us their problems, and inwardly we think, “That is not such a big deal. Why are you letting it bother you? Your faith should be stronger than that.” Later we learn more of the details of the situation and realize it was a big event, especially for them. But we are so focused on situations affecting us, that we often overlook the burdens affecting other people. How many times have we heard about fires, mudslides, accidental deaths, persecution of Christians, loss of business, weather disasters, bad health reports, homelessness, and much more that affect strangers, friends, co-workers, and even family, but we have not let it affect our hearts! Philippians 2:4 says, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Let us make this year one when we look and listen more for the needs of others. Let us recognize their pain and struggles, and then let their burdens touch our hearts and cause us to pray and help. Let us bear “one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).