It was so hot that, when our truck broke down and I had to walk about a mile for help, the bottoms of my feet blistered through the soles of my tennis shoes and socks. Malawi in the 1980s had one paved road, almost completed, from the very north to the south of the country. Breaking down, and having to leave my wife and two small kids stranded in the truck on the side of the road while I went for help, was not my idea of a good day. Yet we found the assistance needed in order to get our vehicle moving again. It was well over 100°F and I had allowed myself to engage in one big pity-party, bemoaning my sacrifice and sufferings to God.
I spent much of my devotional time later that day in listing before the Lord all the burdens and troubles that we had humbly (with some sarcasm) placed upon our frail shoulders for Him and the kingdom of God.
Two weeks later we were driving down the same road, in the same un-air-conditioned heat, and passed a man walking barefoot on the blistering tar road. Sweat was pouring down his face as he walked with about eight pieces of lumber, 10 feet in length, weighing well over 100 pounds, balanced on top of his head. We immediately stopped the truck and helped him and his lumber climb into the bed of the truck. He told me where he was going and we were thrilled to carry him to his village about 5 miles away.
After driving about a mile I looked into my rearview mirror and was astonished to see the man, legs spread far apart, swaying, attempting to balance himself in the back of the truck with the lumber on top of his head! I quickly stopped and insisted that our new-found friend lay his lumber down into the bed of the truck. He looked at me in astonishment and said,
“Sir, it is enough to ask you to carry me in the back of your truck. How can I ask you to carry my lumber also?”
I was astonished and then broken. As I convinced this brother to lay his burden down in the back of the truck and rest for the next 4 miles, I recalled my whining before the Lord. How many times had I recently recounted to heaven all the burdens I was carrying for the sake of the kingdom of God, while the entire time I was being carried? I was so much like this man, swaying in the back of the truck, legs spread far apart, and carrying with great difficulty what God had already taken upon Himself.
Jesus said it best, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. Or it could be said this way.
“Lay your lumber down. I’m already carrying you.”