Kathy Soper’s article Greater Good from the Spring 2006 edition of Segullah has really been resonating with me. She references the scripture from Mosiah, where Alma is inviting the people to enter the waters of Mormon to be baptized. He says:
as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light, mourn with those that mourn, comfort those that stand in need of comfort
that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life
Greater Good recounts several experiences Kathy had with a young woman in need of someone to share her burdens. When this young woman was finally able to release some of her suffering Kathy writes, “As I stood in the sacred space of her trust, my ignorance and inadequacy loomed large. I searched my magic bag of answers for something to make both of us feel strong. But she wasn’t seeking answers that night—just a resting place.”
There have been many times in my relationship with a particular friend when he has chosen to share his burden with me and I have felt that same inadequacy. Sometimes I feel strong and inspired, like the Spirit is filling my mouth with words of comfort, but more often I search my “magic bag” and find myself empty handed. Recently the things he’s chosen to share have left me feeling burdened myself. A couple of years ago I opted to withdraw from our friendship rather than share a burden that I felt was more than I could bear. We kept in touch, but just to chat about the weather and school classes. However, there was a turning point when the Spirit spoke firmly and I knew that not only did my friend need me to do more, but I had made a sacred covenant to do more.
The only way to do this and not get over-burdened myself is to access the Savior’s infinite atonement. As we share the burdens of our Father’s other children we have need of Christ’s strength and grace; it compels us to turn to him in a deeper way and seek understanding, truth, comfort, answers that we may not have needed otherwise. Sometimes His help is more accessible than others. And that has to do entirely with how hard I have been working at my relationship with Him. But my weaknesses aside, the way our Father’s plan works for the greater good of His children amazes me.
What strengthens you most when you are in need of our Savior’s help?