While I was rock climbing with my friends, I gained valuable understanding about helping my fellow believers through challenges in life. I used to hesitate to help people going through challenges because I didn’t know if I would be strong enough to help them bear their heavy burden, but as I was belaying my climbing partner, I changed my attitude about this.
Belaying is a partnership system in rock climbing used to safely assist a climber ascending the face of a rock. One method of belaying has the belayer positioned on a ledge at the top of the rock face, anchored to a secure rock behind so that the belayer cannot be pulled forward. A second anchor connects this belayer by rope to the climber at the bottom of the rock face. Though they can’t see one another, the two partners communicate both verbally and via tension in the rope as the climber ascends.
It’s not uncommon for a novice climber to slip and fall at times before successfully scaling a rock. The belayer’s job is to maintain just enough tension on the rope so that the climber can safely maneuver up the rock face without the concern of falling more than a few feet. The belaying equipment is designed to enable belayers to hold the entire weight of climbers with relatively little force and to easily stop even the sudden fall of climbers much heavier than the belayers themselves.
As a belayer, I was my friend’s partner, supporting him up the rock as he climbed. As a matter of fact, I helped many climbers to the top that day, and because I had the right equipment, I was not worn out or overtaxed at all! This reminded me of bearing one another’s burdens in the Body of Christ, and I realized that I don’t need to hesitate in supporting someone else, wondering if I’ll be strong enough. God has equipped me to do what He’s called me to do. As born-again believers, we have been equipped to help one another get through life’s challenges.
This aspect of life in the one Body of Christ is clearly shown in God’s Word, where God refers to helping others through challenges as bearing their burdens.
Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
If God asks us to bear one another’s burdens, then it must not be more than we can handle. Just like the equipment that makes it easier for the belayer to assist a climber, the equipment from God—His Word and the gift of holy spirit—makes it easier for us to help one another in life’s challenges.
What are some ways that we can help one another through a challenge? In the physical realm, there are many actions we can take. Consider ways that others have helped you. Maybe it was a phone call you received at just the right moment, an unsolicited supper meal delivered to feed your family while you were dealing with an urgent situation, or a note reminding you that others were praying for you. We can all think of people’s kindnesses that have helped lift our particular burden.
Not only are we equipped physically to assist someone in the natural realm, but we are also equipped spiritually to bear another’s burden. Let’s consider how we can support one another by operating the manifestations of holy spirit, by speaking the Word, and by staying faithful.
I Corinthians 12:7:
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
- Speaking in tongues. One of the most powerful ways we can help one another is by praying in the spirit, speaking in tongues (Romans 8:26,27). Praying in tongues makes intercession for those for whom we are praying.
- Operating the worship manifestations of speaking in tongues with interpretation and prophecy. In our fellowship meetings, we can bring forth messages from God that exhort and comfort the people present. The challenges that they may be facing can be set aside as they are built up, edified, in their minds by these messages from God.
I Corinthians 14:5:
I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.
- Speaking the Word of God in love. God’s Word spoken on the lips of a believing believer brings power, life, and vitality.
For the word of God is quick [living], and powerful [energetic], and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
- Staying faithful on God’s Word in the household. Even our personal faithfulness can help someone. The Apostle Paul shared the following with the Thessalonian believers: “Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith [believing]: For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord” (I Thessalonians 3:7,8). Paul, Silas, and Timothy had been under a lot of pressure, but when they heard of the Thessalonians’ believing, they were comforted and their burden was lifted. Sometimes knowing that our fellow believers are standing strong encourages us to get up and keep climbing.
God encourages us to help one another in times of need, and truly we are equipped to be the belayers and burden-bearers who can help one another in life’s challenges, no matter how high the climb or how long it takes!