Terry and I took another road trip recently to get away for a couple of days. After some time by ourselves, part of the plan was to go to Williamsburg, Virginia, to visit with son number four, Jeshua, his wife, Megan, and our two granddaughters by them, Elena and Elora. They have lived in Williamsburg for about four years now.
Our travel took us across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. This particular crossing of the bay involves a total of thirteen miles of bridge over the water, and two tunnels under the water. The scenery is most compelling.
As we traversed the span, Terry told me a family story that I had never before heard. It went back to the days when there was the aged, two-lane bridge that crossed the Ohio River between Pomeroy / Middleport, Ohio, and Mason, West Virginia. It involved our youngest son, Jamin, when he was a tot, who was riding with his mother.
Just as they started to cross the bridge from the Ohio side to the West Virginia side, the two got to talking about the collapse of the Silver Bridge at Point Pleasant, which fell December 15, 1967. Forty-six people tragically perished, two of which, unfortunately, were never found.
Terry asked Jamin, “Son, if this bridge would fall right now, and we would fall into the water, would you try to save your mother?” Terry said that Jamin contemplated the question for a moment while looking down to the water.
Finally, he answered, “Momma, I think I would try to save you. But, I do not know if I can swim pulling six hundred pounds!”
I was smart enough not to ask Terry in that moment to qualify the “six hundred pounds” reference associated with her by Jamin in any way. But, it does lay bare between you and me a significant spiritual consideration in the form of the question at hand, “Do you think you can swim pulling six hundred pounds?”
Times are that the pressures of life and accumulation of difficulties associated with them feel like the equivalent of six hundred pounds on our shoulders or in our hearts. Times are that we feel we cannot carry on or do not feel like carrying on. We tend to want to quit when the feeling becomes overbearing.
But, the answer to the question when it concerns matters of the heart or soul, the emotional or the spiritual, is “Yes, you can!” Within this context, whether it be like swimming with a load to pull, or whether it be like carrying an inordinate load on your shoulders, you and I can always deal with it.
Now, it is not to imply that we have to deal with it on our own. The Lord Jesus Christ is always available and capable of helping us out with the heavy things of our lives as we are willing to turn to Him for help. This is not some sort of spiritually fantastical thinking, either, when the Lord’s principles are employed and applied. I personally know this first-hand because of what I am currently having to deal with. I also know it from the experiences of other believers in Jesus Christ.
First, it starts with understanding the Biblical principle that the Lord sees fit that no more is placed upon us than what we can handle. So, if it amounts to (in so many terms) the comparative of six hundred pounds, with the Lord’s help, we can handle it. There is something powerfully enabling and invigorating when Biblical standards, faith in God, prayer, and spiritual patience are applied to the loads with which we find ourselves carrying at times.
Furthermore, it continues with the understanding that we do not have to bear burdens alone. The Lord indicates that He is willing to team up with us to significantly assist us with our six hundred pounds. “Come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
The purpose of this brief statement is to give certain exhortation and encouragement to someone who might this week stand in need of such.
In the meantime, the next chance I get, I am going to ask Jamin what he meant concerning his mother
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.