At the risk of repeating myself, and because I am participating in this weeks Carnival of Beauty, hosted by Relevant Girl, I want to repost something of significant value in blog-dom! Last week at Partners in Prayer for Our Prodigals, I posted the eulogy of a young man who died on June 11, 2006. With his grieving parent’s permission, I posted Last Words. Their 27 year old son had died; what greater loss is there? Still, in the midst of their unthinkable pain, they shared, as their last words, Stephen’s last words, found in his journal. It is their hearts desire that Stephen’s last words will be only the beginning of God’s glory; even in his death.
And glory abounded! As each reader left a comment, God began his work. Your words of comfort, of understanding, of shared loss, ministered to this family in a mighty way. Some of you shared the painful loss of a child, a brother; some will be sharing these words with prisoners, with other youth—as a means of ministering to their hearts as they seek reconciliation and restoration. Others hearts were moved to pray for this dear family and others were challenged to hold their children closer and pray for them daily.
Some time ago, I wrote a piece for a class being offered at our Church. It was entitled: What’s Missing. From it is a portion that illustrates what I cannot repeat often enough:
Neatly dressed, she sits in the back of the church each Sunday morning, quietly smiling when others greet her. She enjoys the upbeat music, the meaningful drama and listens with a hungry heart as the Pastor speaks of the love of Christ. Her wounds are not visible, but “love” has cost her greatly.
His presence is known immediately, he is a well-dressed businessman who carries himself with confidence. As he walks down the center aisle to find the seat he has chosen, his mind is racing: legal problems are pressing, customers are demanding and employees are grumbling. Someone always needs something from him--he fears losing control and is full of anger…but maintains a confident smile while firmly shaking hands with those nearby.
Several people have asked her “How are you?” before she even takes her seat. She takes a deep breath and replies, “Great!” intentionally failing to mention that her spirit is broken. She is battling with another bout of depression, her husband still has not found a job, and their teen-aged son is in trouble with the law.
Divorcee was never a label she imagined for herself. It is difficult for her to walk through the church doors; her life has changed so much since her husband left. Her children are reeling, her heart is aching, and her responsibilities are overwhelming.
What’s missing? Within the family of God, on any given Sunday morning, people within the church are hurting. Too often, when pain arrives at the doorstep of our life, we step over it, leaving it behind, feeling shame when we are no longer able to hide it. And yet, as Christians, we have the unique advantage of bringing our sorrows to God through prayer and through the body of Christ (the church), from which, God has divinely designed that we can receive comfort and care, healing and hope.
I believe that blog-land is (with some exceptions) very representative of real life. And the response to a blog-request last week duplicated what we can only hope to experience in our real worlds: authentic community.
Furthermore, just as exposing one’s pain requires a risk, authentic caring requires a sacrifice: a sacrifice of self, of obedience, and of love. While the people in this article were not real, their silent pain is. Divorce, death, depression, and suffering are real problems for everyone. As someone once stated, “The question is not if a crisis will come, but when!”
As illustrated on this blog last week, and many others on any given day, a crisis hit and God’s people responded with a "sacrifice of self, of love, and of compassion;" acting as a conduit of God’s love! That kind of authentic community is a beautiful thing!
Pssst! You can find Tuesday's Treasure below. :)