“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
Helpless. That is what it feels like when you have to watch someone you love suffer. Naturally, you want to step in and make the pain go away, but oftentimes you cannot.
Just because you cannot help in the way you wish you could does not mean you are helpless. God sometimes does not allow you to stop the pain because He is at work in ways you cannot understand. Still, you can do much to help.
First, you can pray. In the face of so much pain, this seems a petty act, but it is an act most powerful! Prayer invites God’s intervention and His presence. Prayer can bring peace even while suffering continues. Prayer can even form words in God’s ear that you are struggling to articulate (Romans 8:26). Though you may not see what good your prayers are doing, know that God is paying attention.
Another way to help when your loved one who is hurting is to listen. Do not underestimate what a comfort this can be. Listening is a gift of your time; an act that says you care what they are thinking and feeling. Not always trying to give answers but a safe place for venting, listening is a shoulder to cry on and to share the load.
The suffering of a loved one is never easy. It is often a difficult course in becoming like Christ. We get to know Jesus more as Comforter and Friend instead of Healer. Suffering is written into the core life curriculum for all of us, and now may be your loved one’s turn. The sidelines may not be where you want to be, but prayer and listening can make you an invaluable comfort when someone you love is hurting.
“He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.” (Ephesians 1:5)
People get antsy at the mention of predestination. I make no claims of fully understanding all the Bible says and means about it, but I do know this: the Great Creator had you on His mind even before He made the planet on which He would place you. Already knowing that you and I would mess up in a big way, He preplanned to adopt you as His daughter. The adoption was not automatic; you needed to accept His offer to be your Heavenly Daddy (John 1:12) but He prescheduled Christ’s provision so you could have an opportunity to choose Him.
Why did He do it? He did it because He wanted you and because that’s the kind of kind-hearted God He is. It was His will to have you for a daughter. His love and grace toward you has His glory all over it. It’s shining, overflowing, and joy-provoking.
In light of this, tell me again. Why do you listen to the voices that say you are worthless? Remind me, why do you put yourself down and say your life does not matter? (I sometimes fight those voices too.)
Whenever your feelings get cloudy about your worth, remind yourself that before you ruined your relationship with Him, He had already plotted to win His little girl back. Though you nor anybody deserves it, adopting you was on His mind all along.
The very thing you’ve been looking for may well be hidden in the places you’ve been avoiding.
“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.” (Ephesians 4:1)
How wonderful to bask in the knowledge of who we are in Christ and what we have in Him! Some criticize the current movement that focuses on the self-esteem and beautiful identity Christ gives us, but I believe broken and bruised Christians need that regular reminder. I believe God intended to fill His children with a healthy sense of self so long as the result points back to the One Who gave it.
Having said that, I also see danger if our Christ-given identity is something we only put in a frame and mount on the wall of our heart. God has bigger plans for us than just celebrating who we are in Him. That identity is a license to love with abandon. Because we we no longer need to find our worth in the wrong places and things, we are free to be who He made us for the benefit of people who don’t know Him yet. As emancipated slaves of sin, we become free advertisement of what a good Master our Saviour is. Since we have confident, around-the-clock access to the throne of grace (Ephesians 3:12) our load of requests need not solely be about us and ours; let us load His palace floor with the needs of others who, as outsiders, have no grace-privileged access to the throne room.
As believers, we possess the riches of all we inherited through Christ. Yes, God meant those riches for our enjoyment, but He also intended His bounty to overflow in service and love to others. Where is the flood happening in your life? Whose life is benefitting from your overflow now that you know who you are in Him?
“Be diligent to present yourself to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed….” (2 Timothy 2:15)
Going through the security checkpoint of an airport recently, I noticed a giant sign reading, “NOT ON MY WATCH.” I thought, “Wow, what a great way to inspire those officers of how much we depend on them to protect us.”
This should be the attitude of every follower of Christ. Will any of your neighbors or mine go to hell because we were too busy to share Christ? Will the poor in our reach of influence suffer needlessly while we hoard our blessings that could multiply if we shared them? Not on our watch!
Will our family experience neglect because our calendars are overcrowded with “me events”? What about our government? Have we fallen for the lie that our little prayers will make little difference so why bother? A mustard seed is all it takes, My Friend. Have you planted yours on your watch?
God placed you on your part of the planet for this chunk of history for specific reasons. He has not called you to do everything for everyone, but I encourage you not to miss a single one God pegged for you to serve.
The world needs what we as believers have to offer. The Bible calls us clay vessels carrying the richest of treasures (2 Corinthians 4:7). Don’t let those in YOUR community, YOUR family and YOUR church fall through the cracks, not on YOUR watch.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3
The power used to go out at our house every time a bad storm crashed through our neighborhood. We would burn candles, curb our activities, and limit the number of the times we opened our fridge so as to preserve the perishables. The house seemed extra quiet without the background noise of all that was electric, but there was always a peculiar noise outside during these times. It sounded like a distant lawn mower, but who would mow wet grass right after a storm? I soon realized the muffled droning came from our neighbor’s generator. This amazing machine allowed them to continue life as normal despite the storm’s intrusion.
You and I have a far more powerful Generator in the Holy Spirit. When trouble, stress, and trials deplete our physical and emotional strength, our great God steps in and enables us to keep going through HIS strength. In fact, the weaker we are, the stronger His power surges through us
(2 Corinthians 12:9)!
Gag your inner critic. Never think you must abandon the task God has given you, the dream He placed in your heart, or the battle you are facing. As a daughter of the King, you have whatever (no, Whoever) it takes to fulfill your purpose for the glory of God.