My daughter and I walk with my son to the bus stop on the days I’m off of work. When it’s cold, we bundle up in hats, scarves, and snow pants, dancing around trying not to freeze. When it’s hot we smile at the sunshine and breathe deeper, enjoying the fresh air. And when it rains, we wear our boots and carry umbrellas.
One cold, rainy day we were standing at the bus stop, waiting like always to see the bus pop out from the street just down from ours. My son wanted to bring his basketball to school, as he often does, despite the wet weather and the fact we still needed to wear gloves. He opted for a hat instead of an umbrella so he could carry his beloved ball.
As we waited in the rain, he decided to use his ball as a resting spot and sat down, looking off into the distance, waiting for the yellow bus to appear. I stood and watched as my daughter walked over with her blue and white umbrella and held it over both of their heads. I was struck by the unprompted act of kindness and took a picture of the two of them.
When I looked down at the picture on my phone I thought about how God tells us to carry each other’s burdens:
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”Galatians 6:2
It’s a choice to step in to meet another person’s need, or to enter into their pain. Empathy and action often cost us personally, whether time, energy, or money. Sometimes all three.
The Bible commands us to:
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”Philippians 2:3-4
We all have needs: shelter, food, love, forgiveness. And we will all be the person in need at some point. Likewise, we will also find ourselves in a position to provide for others.
We have each been blessed by God with the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us, leading and guiding us as we walk through this life. We have received His grace so we can give it away.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”2 Corinthians 1:3-4
If you’re standing in the rain, don’t let it soak you to the bone. Find someone with an umbrella and take shelter. We can’t do life alone. We’re all Created for Connection, but if we choose to hide and pretend we can do it ourselves, we’ll end up alone and hungry, sad, bitter, and cynical. There is no shame in asking for help. We will all be in a position of needing someone to hold the umbrella at different times in our lives. No one gets through this life without getting wet.
And if you find yourself in the sun, where maybe the puddles have receded for a time, let me encourage you to carry a large umbrella and use it to shelter others from the storms of this life.
In a world that tells us to look out for ourselves first, be the person who chooses to sacrifice for the good of others around you. Sometimes there will be a cost and sometimes you just need to hold the umbrella.
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I’m a wife, mom of two, and lover of Jesus. I believe through Him we are transformed and receive new life, giving us unique purpose.