“Let me help you with that.”
“Oh, that’s okay. I’ve got it.”
Newly graduated from high school, I was going to spend ten days in New York City visiting my sister. She had been adamant in her warning NOT to let anyone help me with my suitcase when I arrived because they would expect a tip. There I was struggling with a load that was at least half my weight, lugging it down the sidewalk to the waiting bus.
Of course this was long before the day when any luggage had wheels. The inventor of “wheeled suitcases” has changed travelers' mobility forever. We have come to depend on the ease of gliding down the street or through the airport or train station.
But when the wheels come off, it changes everything.
My suitcase lost its wheels a few years ago near the end of a long, cross-country trip. Since it was mainly a road trip and I had my strong son with me to lift the load, I was doing okay. For my flight home after dropping him off at the university, I simply checked the bag and saved myself the worry of making my connection.
When my husband picked me up at the airport, it was another story. There was the long walk from the baggage claim area to the car. Since the suitcase was a lost cause anyway, Bill decided to just drag it along behind him. No sense straining his back. After all we didn’t want anyone to notice we had no wheels.
It was smooth going through the slick floors of the terminal and up and down the escalators. But the parking lot was another thing. The grating on the sometimes-uneven pavement and rough surface sounded as if the whole thing would fall apart, leaving a trail of clothes and toiletries behind.
I gave the old piece of baggage a good look over after I emptied it the next morning. It could still hold clothes and the zippers worked pretty well. Actually I could use it just to store things.
But then my better self told me to stop!! Time to toss it in the garbage. Thank goodness the trash was picked up that day so there was no changing my mind.
I visited so many people on that long ago summer road trip that I hadn’t seen in years. It was obvious we had all changed physically. For some of us our “wheels” were falling off or had disappeared: loss of hearing; cancer surgeries; heart problems; bodies just slowing down.
It was a good reminder that no matter what our lifestyle or all the things we do to improve our quality of life, our bodies aren’t going to last forever. In the end, our Lord Jesus will be ready to trash that old, worn out body so He can give us one that is brand new. One that is perfect. One that will truly last forever without ever growing old again.
In the meanwhile I sometimes find myself dragging around my life, the "suitcase" that at times can get really heavy with the burdens that weigh me down. The one that has wheels that threaten to fall off or already have. The one I just keep dragging along with more parts scraping and breaking off, hoping no one will notice I don’t have it all together.
And I often refuse help. Afraid they will want something in return. Afraid someone will think I’m not strong enough. Afraid they will detect my failings and my flaws.
But my Lord Jesus notices. After all, He’s right there walking beside me saying, "Let Me help you with that!". And when I’m refusing His help and the help He sends through others, trying to go it on my own, I finally ask myself, "Why don’t I just take Him up on His offer more often?"
Oh, why do I always wait so long? What a relief when I finally give in and the load is lifted. His loving smile assures me once again that He’s more than happy to carry everything… especially my guilt and sorrows.
He gives the best service in the world. And I don’t even have to worry about the tip!
Because there's nothing I can offer except to live a life full of the joy that comes from His forgiveness, His grace, His love!
Leaving my guilt at the cross,