Friday, March 8, 2013

Lighter Burdens

Through some recent problems and trials, I have been reminded of an experience I had when I was in Boy Scouts. We were setting out on a 60 mile hike in the mountains. We were to carry all we needed in back packs and walk the entire distance. In preparation I packed a lot of things that I thought I needed, and got a new pair of hiking boots that I thought fit me good enough.

The first day of hiking was an eye-opener. I struggled to make it through the first 10 miles. My pack was heavier than expected, my feet ached because my boots were too loose. It didn't take long for the others the get ahead of me and I was walking by myself for most of that day. Some tried to stay behind with me, but I was still too slow. I took many stops and I got further and further behind. Eventually, one of the scout masters came back to me and took some of the heavier things out of my bag. It wasn't much, but it kept me going a bit longer. However, the pack was still too heavy and I continued to be in the back, almost miles behind. I eventually stopped and sat down and waited hoping that someone would pick me up or carry my bag for me. Another scout master came, but he didn't do what I wanted. He traded shoes with me and took a few more things out of my bag and walked with me the rest of the way that day. The bag was still heavy, but it didn't feel that way. Having someone there helped and made my burden lighter.

In this life we have a certain expectation that someone else is just going to take away our problems. This doesn't happen, not even with the Savior. He makes our burdens lighter, in other words, he doesn't just take them away. He helps us by carrying a few things to make the bigger load lighter. He gives us better shoes to make the journey easier on us. He walks with us those last few miles.

So, why doesn't He just take every hard thing away from us? He's able to do that right? Of course He can. But, if he did that, how could we become stronger? How could we learn? Like my experience on that first day, my heavy load wasn't just taken away and I wasn't given a ride to that first camp. I needed to get there myself. I learned that I needed better fitting shoes and learned that many things that I was carrying I didn't need. Like in life, God isn't going to take away a trial completely just because we were unprepared or made a mistake. We still need to learn and become stronger from that experience. If we can only go as far as we can go on our own, He will come and lighten our load and walk a few miles with us.

After that first day, I wore my regular shoes and left some of the things I didn't need on the truck. I still had to carry my backpack, and I still had to walk the rest of the way. But, I was able to make it, because my burden was lighter.