Random events are NOT the way God works. He doesn’t take advantage of coincidences to work in His children either. Let me explain by describing an encounter I had at Wal-Mart two days ago…
I already was not in the best mood for reasons that aren’t important. As I was picking up a few things I literally bumped into the wife of a man who disappointed me deeply and profoundly two years ago. I hadn’t seen her in over two years, and she was without makeup which made it hard to place who she was (Not wearing makeup and just coming from a working out is actually a good disguise). When I recognized her, the hurt and disappointment from her husband flooded back into my soul. As a result I wasn’t ready to switch on the smooze and act as if I was doing great. In fact… I hurried on to finish picking up a few things so I wouldn’t say the wrong thing.
While walking away I realized I shouldn’t have been so short. So I tracked her down to apologize… at which point the discussion went in a direction that surprised me. She began defending her husband (As any wife would and should). She told me they decided to withdraw completely from the situation and not get involved at all. Note: This is the very reason I was profoundly hurt. I told her I would call her husband so we could sit down and talk… more for me to correct any misunderstanding I (!) may have contributed to from their perspective. After I left Wal-Mart… I called her husband and asked to sit down and talk. He said he’d call me right back… and hasn’t yet.
Now The Point Of The Post. When you love someone (As I was told multiple times by the lady’s husband), and they are in difficulty or hardship, not getting involved is not an option. When you love a person, you will get involved. In Hebrews 10:32-34 Christians gladly accepted the plundering of their property by associating with their Christian family that was suffering (Click here).
Note: Make sure you read my suggested lesson if you don’t read anything else… which can be found below…
I don’t mind telling you, when I was hurting… when I didn’t know who my friends were and knew I had many after me… every word of encouragement I got was like cool water on a hot day. Some people surprised me with their encouragement. Some disappointed me. This woman’s husband was one who disappointed me… deeply.
I didn’t want him to interject himself into the situation. I didn’t expect him to say anything to those I believed were in opposition to me. I didn’t want him to come in like Mighty Mouse and save the day either. But what would have been good was a word of encouragement… such as is commanded in Scripture…
Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
James 2:8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.
Hebrews 10:32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.
Suggested Lesson: When a brother or sister is struggling… when they are hurting… when they are under pressure and stress, one of the best things you can do is give them a call to encourage and strengthen them. There is no need for you to actually interject yourself into the situation unless you are so led… but it IS part of your call to help and encourage the downtrodden. It IS your call to help them bear whatever burden is placed upon them that is crushing them. And not to do so is to turn your back on the Law of Love.
I hope and pray that from this day forward I am willing to encourage those who are struggling… even if it does cost me… even if I am misunderstood… even if I have to take a hit. After all, there is a reason God allows/causes us to suffer… it is to comfort others when they are struggling!
Who do you know, right now, that would be encouraged by you either visiting or calling them… just to build them up and pray with them? If a name comes to your mind, that is God’s Spirit prompting you to act.
Pastor Ron: My what a blessing to read your (blog post) today! It really strikes a cord with me in that there are so many out there who could use a word of encouragement or some type of apology. I have been blessed so many times by words of enncouragement since my Mom passed away…by ones that I never thought would take the time to see and understand my hurt and to understand that my Mom was a very private person before and during her sickness. My Dad was a “people” person and never met a stranger..but Mom was not that way. She was in bad health long before my Dad passed away and…. You never know what is going on in a person’s life until you walk in their shoes! I am so fortunate to have been raised in a Christian home by Christian parents. I am so thankful you and Pam came into my life at a time when I felt as if no one cared for my Mom but her family. I thank the Lord for both of you and for you kindness and encouragement during a difficult experience I was not prepared to handle.
This parallels what I encountered last week with a person that I love very much. I felt she was treated so very unfairly after she gave 500% of herself.
I have such srong feelings as to what went on, that I want to leave the Baptist faith and look for another church that does not persecute a person of God for no apparent reason. This was not the first instance of mistreatment over the years, but it will be the last.
What a blessing and encouragement these words are to me. I have been trying to encourage a lady in my church and wasn’t sure I was doing the right thing. She has been so withdrawn from everyone and this is not like her. I don’t know or want to know what is going on but I have sent her cards and told her that I was praying for her. Thank you again for these words.
Thank you so much for this! I too know what it’s like to be ignored when all I longed for was a (1) word of encouragement. My goal is to encourage people when they are hurting… that doesn’t take much. After all, actions do speak louder than words.