Over the years, my backpack has taken a lot of abuse. I’ve taken it out in the blazing sun and in the pouring rain, around my neighborhood and on overseas trips. It’s gone with me to humanitarian projects and on holidays. In fact, almost everywhere I’ve gone, so has my bag.
Still, I was caught off guard when my bag started to have trouble zipping up—either the mechanism would get stuck or the zipper would pop open behind it again, leaving me frustrated and unable to use the bag properly. But I struggled on, carrying the bag half-closed, or even holding it in one hand while squeezing the halves together to keep its contents from falling. The rest of the bag was in great shape, and I didn’t see why this one problem should stop me from using it.
One day, though, it was just too much, and I reacted angrily as an attempt to pick up my bag resulted in items spilling all over the floor. “Why don’t you take that thing in for repair?” my wife suggested. It only took me a couple of seconds to realize that she was right, so off to the shop I went.
Before long, the bag was repaired, and better than ever! I’m continuing to use it constantly, and everything works perfectly. I feel pretty foolish for having waited so long for such a simple fix.
This caused me to reflect on my life, which is filled with situations—good, bad, easy, terrible—that all take a toll. Eventually, my own strength always fails. My running back and forth between horribles and happys wears me down. I come apart and can’t function properly.
Yet I often refuse to acknowledge my need for help, so I try to push aside the one problem that is stifling my spirit. I struggle on in a state of halfs—half productive, half joyful, half fulfilled—when my soul could be entirely renewed. Jesus offered full repair when He said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit.”1
So now I remember that wherever I go and in whatever situations I find myself, Jesus is with me. His strength bears any weight, and His mercies are constantly new.2 If I keep Him at the center of my existence, then no matter what this life throws at me, He’ll never fail to hold me together.