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Christian Women's Magazine | Standing Strong in Uncertain Times

JBU Fall 2010

By Jill Briscoe

Stuart and I were birdwatching in Wisconsin—one of our favorite things to do. We were taking a few days to celebrate my birthday (yes, I actually still have them once a year!) walking the trails in the beautiful forests of our state. That morning Stuart had shouldered his backpack loaded with water bottles, maps, bird books, camera, and so on, but I decided to carry just my binoculars and camera and no extra weight. We set off on a glorious morning and oh, oh, oh, what a thrill to be alone with each other and with God and His incredible finger work—and walk and walk and walk. Joy!

“It’s so beautiful, Lord, I see You everywhere,” I said quietly. “Thank You!” And I remembered it said in the Golden Book: “The invisible things of Him are clearly seen…in the things…[He] made.” 

After lunch we set off again, and this time the trail was more isolated and hilly. By now I had accumulated a few items along the way and my hands were full. (Don’t ask me “what things”—you know how we women do that—even in the middle of a forest!) The heavy binoculars got heavier still and the “stuff” in my hands more cumbersome. Added to that we were walking uphill. I was dragging.

I walked behind my man and looked at his strong, straight shoulders ahead of me carrying his burden lightly, though his backpack was quite full. Suddenly as if sensing my fatigue, he turned around, smiled at me and said gently, “Jill, put it in my backpack.” So I took all my stuff and put it in his backpack and we continued to walk the trails. What a relief. What a difference. But my joy was tempered with sorrow.

Stuart turned around to lead up the trail again, and in that moment standing quite still, I acknowledged that as well as all the paraphernalia of the birder, I had been carrying another unseen burden of worry that day. A burden that was spoiling the day and casting a shadow over everything. True, my hands were empty but my heart was still loaded down with worry—my spirit still dragging up the hills.

“Why don’t you put it in ‘My’ backpack, Jill?” the Lord whispered to my heavy heart. And there, walking along that beautiful Wisconsin trail I did just that! It didn’t mean I didn’t have a burden any more. It meant that He was carrying it instead of me: just as Stuart was carrying all my earthly things. What a difference! The problem hadn’t gone anywhere, but His strong eternal shoulders were bearing the weight of it. My spirit breathed more easily and my soul relaxed.

What things are God asking you to put in His backpack today? Let Him carry your burdens and help you stand strong in uncertain times!


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