Another Word…by Gus Keiser

January 8, 2018

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

                                                                                                Galatians 6:2

 I can’t believe that it’s been almost three years since I suffered with the medical issues that came close to ending my life. Following my release from the hospital and a stay alone at home while my family visited with Ellie’s sister and her family and her mother; after a week, I made the plane trip to Minneapolis, right after Jordan and Sunshine returned, so that I could visit with them and spend a week recuperating from all that had occurred.  Part of that recuperative process included doing some traveling around the Twin Cities.  It was one day as we were driving back from St. Paul to Minneapolis, that we crossed over a bridge on I-35-W.

It was on that same bridge eight years earlier, during a typical afternoon commute, that tragedy struck when, without warning, the bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River below, killing thirteen people and injuring one hundred forty-five others. In a way it was also amazing that so many others who had plunged into the river managed to survive.

In the Pittsburgh area, we’re very familiar with bridges, as the city has one of the greatest concentrations of bridges in the United States. I’m certain that those who travel those bridges daily rarely give thought as to whether they’re structurally sound.  They simply drive across them with their minds totally preoccupied by other “more important” issues, at the same time taking for granted that they will remain intact.  It’s such a matter of trust for them that they don’t even consider the possibility that the structure they’re on may not be safe.

Think of the many people around you every day, including those who make up your world of relationships. Some bear the physical scars of this life, while others don’t.  Most of us never give a moment’s thought to what might be going on in the lives of these people.  Yet, many people bear tremendous emotional and spiritual damages… interior damages that few, if any of us, see.  Much like one of those unsound bridges that appear to be normal, but have unseen structural damage, most of these people appear as though all is well in their lives.  Yet, many are teetering on the brink of collapse from all the damages done by wounds that have weakened them.

When that Minneapolis bridge collapse occurred, heroes emerged: People caught on the collapsed bridge along with rescue workers who quickly arrived on the scene. These were people who courageously put their own lives at risk to help those caught up in the tragedy.  What a marvelous reminder that we, as Christian followers, are called to be spiritual and emotional rescue workers in the lives of those around us.

In the New Testament book of Jude, we read, “Show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment.  There are still others to whom you need to show mercy…”

 So today, why not make the decision to look below the surface of the lives of the people in your world. Chances are, there is someone out there that you know who needs your support.  Through your love and care, you can help to shore up that person and prevent their life from collapsing.

Lord, give us the eyes to see and then equip us with the tools and the compassion to strengthen and rescue the lives of others. Amen.

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