"So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most."
(Hebrews 4:16, NLT)
"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
(Galatians 6:2, NIV)
The room was quiet and dimly lit. I studied the space nervously. Tissue boxes next to comfortable seating. Kneeling benches barely hidden by standard office partitions. A space carved out for prayer. And, as I surveyed my surroundings, I wondered. How many of God’s broken have started down a path of healing in this room? It’s Mother’s Day weekend. So many wounds to tear open on a day dedicated to celebrating and honoring mothers. So who of His broken would enter today? Will their burdens be heavier than any given day? Will I be strong enough to help carry them?
Busted hearts break away from the service to enter in this space. It takes such courage even to step foot in this room, to rip open tender wounds never really healed, to grab a stranger’s hand and cross the threshold into the Holy of Holies. Together. Because of the Lamb that was slain, the Lion that defeated the grave, any space can be a place to kneel, a place to find rest and hope, comfort and peace. Healing.
This side of Calvary, it’s a name and not a space that opens the door to His throne room of grace. The empty tomb props it open and anyone can freely enter. Everyone. It’s funny how the most accessible places are the ones I take for granted. Why is it the closed doors are the ones I insist on walking through when the open doors are the ones inviting me in?
The first brave one enters. She is approaching on behalf of another. Isn’t that why we are all here? Bearing each other’s burdens? She’s broken over a friend with an unthinkable story, a friend who can’t come out of the darkness today. So we bow our heads and ask for God’s light in the darkness. She leaves, returns to her seat. And I feel better. Does she?
A couple others enter and leave, with a few less tissues in the box. And then, the last one. Young, beautifully broken. She doesn’t enter alone because she needs someone to help tell her story. Speak the words for her. There are three of us and we surround them, listen to her ache. We all take tissues as we commune with the Living God on her behalf. It’s like we are all being washed as we bear this burden in His throne room, uttering small words to a big God. The three of us, we each prayed boldly and so differently to the same El Roi, the God who sees us.
We lift heads and the salt tears are cleansing each of us as they fall and I can see a hint of healing in her eyes. Before she leaves, I whisper words that hold her heart and she grabs me hard in a healing embrace. Someone I’ve never met before today but we are sisters in Christ, eternally. And, something about bearing burdens together, coming alongside the brokenhearted, lifting up the contrite in spirit heals the heart of the broken and the prayer warrior alike. Because you can’t be in the presence of the Healer without being restored.
She needed that. That’s what she says. Don’t we all, I think to myself. This open door, we all need it. My hurt, my burdens are nothing like hers. But they leave me just as broken. And each time I approach on behalf of another, in the presence of God, communing with Him, connecting with Him, I can feel the scar tissue forming over my tender wounds. Reaching out for another makes me a little more whole, too.
I came to serve and yet once again the blessings were poured out on me. Maybe that’s why God asks us to bear each other’s burdens. Because no matter which side of the hurt we are on, we are changed, our hearts scraped clean merely by His presence. All we have to do is walk past the closed door and straight through the open one.