I love paperweights. My collection began when my sweet “Me-Ma” cross-stitched a mallard duck and gave it to me, encased in glass. Decades ago, I was given a brass doorknob from my aunt and uncle’s ‘ol furniture shop in Elon, North Carolina. There’s a glass Snoopy I received from an employer who previously used Peanuts as their recognizable brand. My oldest daughter surprised me one summer with a Four-leaf clover glass paperweight she bought in Ireland. Another year, during my youth ministry tenure, a teenager made me one for Christmas. Most recently, on Christmas morning, my wife found a heavy square paperweight in her stocking, for her to use at work to keep track of multiple “things to do” lists. The weight of a paper weight can of-course also secure things like bills, receipts or whatever.
However, the weight of a long life, relationships, and our jobs, have a way of breeding depression, worry and anxiety-if we let it. But sometimes, we are powerless to lift those three things off of ourselves, because we are weary. Why bother? We tell ourselves, “It’s just a part of life.” We give in. We give up, even though the year is new.
The start of a new year is known for people trying to get the physical weight off they put on from excessive holiday eating or from an accumulation of years of not exercising. Most folks try at the beginning of January, but quickly-quit when the going gets tough, or it doesn’t feel good. What about the emotional weight that you and I were never meant to bear alone?
What can we do? Some Christians sing hymns when life weighs them down because a hymn tells a story of another person’s struggle with faith. Horatio Spafford was weighed down. He was a prominent American attorney who served in a Presbyterian church in the role of an elder. To start with, he lost a lot of money in the great Chicago fire of 1871, and around that time he also lost his four-year old son to scarlet fever. In an effort to get away, he sent his wife and daughters far away from the United States on a ship across the Atlantic Ocean. His intention was to join them after he finished some business dealings. Before he could do that, he received a desperate telegram from his wife. She said the ship sank, and their four daughters didn’t make it. Did Mr. Spafford sink? After he met up with his wife, he eventually sat down and painstakingly wrote the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul”.
How many millions of people have had their shattered spirits lifted each time they sang that hymn to God, accompanied by tears? God will ease your load. He just wants you to come to Him in faith, and call out His name.
Isaiah 43:2a reads, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown…” (NLT)