If I’m being completely honest, this week has been hard.
We are currently in this stage of life where people that we love are hurting. It’s always been a part of our lives, being in church ministry. The truth is, that normally no one ever really calls up the church to say that they are doing just fine. Most often, people turn to God when they are facing struggles and hardships. And this is totally great in so many ways. But it’s also hard. Because often times, you mostly hear the hard things.
It’s landed hard this week. And I’ve been able to literally feel it, like its a knot inside of me. At times, it pulls so tight and is uncomfortable and it hurts. And I’ve spent time just wondering what in the world I’m supposed to do. There have been so many times that I wish I could just take away the pain that is causing pain for so many who are hurting.
But then, just right about the time I needed it, I listened to a sermon that my heart really needed to hear (if you want, you can check it out here). The pastor was talking about how we walk by people who are struggling. How we handle those who are in the hardest of struggles. And he told a story from the Bible (It can be found in Mark 2) about four friends.
This group of four friends, had a friend who was struggling. He was paralyzed and so you can imagine, the physical and emotional pain that this man must have endured. He may not have had the ability to walk, but what he did have, was his friends. They loved him and they cared for him and they were going to do everything they could do to help him.
So they brought him to Jesus. Only, when they got to where Jesus was, they couldn’t get into the house to see him. There were too many other people who were there who also wanted to hear what Jesus was saying. So you’d think that when they came up against this obstacle, that they would have just given up. Because sometimes when circumstances seem impossible, it’s what we want to do.
But not these friends. These four friends carried the paralyzed man up onto the roof. And they started to dig. They dug and they dug. They dug deep. They dug so deep that they eventually carved a hole in the roof and then they lowered their paralyzed friend down to Jesus. In doing this the Bible says that Jesus saw their faith. He ended up forgiving the man’s sins, and also healing his body so that he could walk. You can imagine that the first people he probably thanked after Jesus, were those four friends. He started out hurting and paralyzed. But because of his friends, his life was changed forever.
Sometimes the people we love are going to struggle. The pain could be mental, emotional, physical or spiritual. Sometimes, as our loved ones struggle, we may find ourselves struggling too. Hurting right along side of them.
But in these times, we can help. We can love them like God loves us and we can carry them. It might take some deep digging. But in the end, because we care, we might get the chance to change their lives forever.
The great thing is, that we don’t have to have special skills or magical powers to help. We can use what God’s given us to help those we love. I’ll be honest. There have been so many times that I’ve wished I could be a nurse to have more skills to be able to help our friend Michael. Truthfully, I’m probably not science smart enough to go back to school to do this. But even though I most likely will not be a nurse, I can use what God’s given me to help. This is why I write and take pictures and share. It’s something that I can do with what God has given me.
You have gifts and talents. I know, because God has given them to you. So if you can related to what it’s like to go through tough times with your loved ones, I’d like to challenge you to stop and think this weekend. What are ways that you can use your gifts to help those you love who may be struggling right now? Once you think of these ways, go and do them.