Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
On my recent flight to Maine I did my best to travel light. It’s not easy when you’re going to be gone for 3 months, but I tried. Ever since I raised my three fingers and took the Girl Scout pledge to be prepared, I want to be exactly that – prepared.
I looked around, there were a lot of “prepared” travelers. They look prepared for a bar mitzvah, baby dedication or even a costume party. Many of us don’t know how to travel light. Haven’t we all been known to carry a few extra items?
Odds are, you picked up a few bags this morning on your way out the door without even thinking. The baggage I’m referring to aren’t made of fabric or leather, they’re made of burdens.
The suitcase of guilt. A sack of discontent. Maybe you draped a duffle bag of weariness on one shoulder and a hanging bag of grief on the other. A backpack of doubt and overnight bag of loneliness. No wonder you’re tired, carrying around all that luggage is exhausting.
But God will lighten our load as demonstrated in the verse above and an old favorite, Psalm 23.
Do more beloved words exist? They are hung in hospitals, scratched on prison walls, and whispered by the dying. Psalm 23 is deeply loved and widely known. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t turn to them. I recently applied them to Glen’s heart. The cancer had taken so much of his ability to eat and his strength. And, over the phone, I started, “G, The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
By the time I got to verse 4 Glen was reciting in unison with me, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff comfort me.” I don’t know if Glen had his eyes open or not. But I wondered if God was helping him set down some baggage, his fears & doubts, as we recited the Psalm together.
Do you have baggage of your own? Do you think God might use Psalm 23 to lighten your load? Traveling light means to trust God with our burdens we were never intended to carry. Have you ever thought about the impact that excess baggage has on relationships? For the sake of those you love, learn to set them down. And for the sake of God, do the same.
He wants to use you, but how can He if you’re exhausted? God has plans for you! Under God’s care I’ve gone places I’d never been before and served in ways I never dreamed before. And the enemy has tried to load me down! I had to drop some baggage. How can you offer comfort if you’re disheartened? How can you lift someone’s load if your arms are full of your own?
Set it down. He is our father at the baggage claim that tells the child trying to drag the trunk from the carousel, “Set it down. I’ll carry that one.” I say, let’s take Him up on the offer. You might just find yourself traveling a little lighter and further than imagined.
P.S. Fact is, there’s still a lot about travel I find confusing. Take, for example the restrictions on a supersaver fare: half price if you leave on Wednesdays during moose-hunting season and return on the full moon in a nonelection year. Why don’t they build the whole plane out of black-box material? And I don’t know what to say to somebody in Maine who upon learning I’m from Florida asks if I know Donna Miller who lives in Notsurewhere, Florida.