If you know me, you’ll know that I am a massive sports fan. So, whenever I get the chance to watch TV at home it often involves live football and cricket, or catching up on the most recent sporting contests on demand. This is very much to the annoyance of my mum and Hollie (who I can proudly say is now my new fiancée!). The recent lack of live sports on tv as you can imagine has had a big impact on the way I spend my down time, and made life for my mum and Hollie much more pleasant than it was before.
Thankfully, I also love watching films and the other day I found myself sat, engrossed in the new Toy Story film. This is the fourth in a series of animated movies which have given me a lot of enjoyment over the years, ever since the first one was released back when I was a child. If you have seen any of the Toy Story films you will undoubtedly be able to recite the famous song You’ve Got a Friend in Me. In challenging times, like the ones we are living in now, it is important to know you have the support and love of a friend, someone who is available at the end of a phone or screen to share your burdens with.
Some of us at Smawthorne Community Church are working our way through the Bible in One Year reading plan, which includes Old and New testament readings each day. The book in the Old Testament that we are working through at the moment is called Numbers. In chapter 11 it tells the account of how the Israelites complained to God because of the food he was providing them during their travels in the desert. The food was called Manna and is described as a fine, flake-like thing like the frost on the ground. Doesn’t sound like the most appetising of meals but still God was providing for them in a mighty way. As a result Moses, the leader of the Israelites, must have received a lot of anger from the people and turned to God in his despair, asking “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant?…I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.” In response God is compassionate and asks Moses to gather seventy of Israel’s leaders, so he can fill them with the power of the Spirit, meaning “they will share the burden of the people” so that Moses will not have to carry it alone.
The current focus of the government, in the wake of the virus, is rightly to safeguard the health of people in the UK. However, in the face of such a crisis it is easy for us to feel alone, especially with the practice of social isolating which means we are physically distant from others. It is also easy for us to feel like we’re carrying a heavy burden, especially with loved ones who need great support and face real danger from the virus. But during these times it is an awesome truth to know we serve a God who is our great provider and sends people to share the burden with us. There are many times I can recount when a friend has crossed paths with mine just when I needed it. Looking back, I can give thanks to God for those people he has sent my way to offer wisdom, encouragement and friendship.
Now more than ever we need to be using the incredible technology we have at hand to continue life together and connect with others. This week, why not think of one way you can be a friend to someone, help carry the burden and share God’s light in their lives.
Have a good week,