The Burden Bearer

The following is a devotional thought by Jim Abernathy that got my attention this morning. I have three very close friends (one of them refers to me as his brother by another mother) who are going through treatment for cancer.  Another dear friend has just been advised to see a specialist after something suspicious turned up during a routine physical. My heart aches for each of them and for those close to them. The devotional provides comfort and perspective for me as I, in my heart, share the burdens of my friends. Perhaps it will be meaningful to you as well. RMF

Dr. Jim Abernathy

Dr. Jim Abernathy

 A Devotional

Pastor Jim Abernathy

Westwood Baptist Church

Springfield, VA

What do you do when you hear bad news? Sometimes our responses are tempered by distance and depth of relationship. Things happening a world away to people we have never met are tragic, but often we respond to such news in muted ways that reflect a lack of connection to the place or person. Perhaps we take time to pray for them, contribute to an ongoing fund for relief, or talk among friends about the continuing tragedies of the world. But what happens when that bad news impacts a close friend, respected co-worker, family member…yourself?

We each respond uniquely to hearing bad news. Some immediately think the worst, others look for options, perhaps even silver linings among the clouds. Disbelief, shock, even anger are common responses, and yet, no one feels exactly as you do when confronted by tragic, even frightening news.

In a quiet moment this morning, reflecting on the news of this day, a gospel song came to my mind that I have not thought of or sung in probably two decades. Perhaps it is a gift of the Spirit to me for this day…perhaps a perspective builder for this day’s unfolding path. The text of John Moore’s hymn, “Burdens are Lifted at Calvary,” offers this assurance in the midst of our heartaches…

Days are filled with sorrow and care,
Hearts are lonely and drear,
Burdens are lifted at Calvary,
Jesus is very near.

Burdens are lifted at Calvary, Calvary, Calvary.
Burdens are lifted at Calvary, Jesus is very near. (Chorus)

Cast your care on Jesus today,
leave your worry and fear,
Burdens are lifted at Calvary,
Jesus is very near.

Troubled soul, the Savior can feel
every heartache and tear.
Burdens are lifted at Calvary,
Jesus is very near.

Bad news is an unwelcome, but not uncommon companion on this life’s journey. We would prefer it take another path…that we would not have to share a moment’s time in its chilling embrace. That is not a realistic expectation, however. Yet, there is another companion whose presence empowers the bearing of these burdens. Moore simply says in his hymn text, “Jesus is very near.” For some, that may seem little comfort when bad news comes. For the one who knows the Savior, there is strength enough in his presence and the assurance that he will take those next steps with you.

Dear friends, no matter what news you hear today, remember, Jesus is very near.

Jim Abernathy


About ronfurg

Former naval officer, federal investigator, forensic scientist, senior executive service member and pastor. In retirement serves as volunteer and life group leader at New Life Christian Church ( Devoted to beautiful wife, kids and grandkids. Looking forward to the time when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all and that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
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