On the Surface

 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.                          

Galations 6:2            

 

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works

                              Hebrews 10:23

I was fortunate enough to be able to go to a conference in Boston last year with a co-worker. My friend “Sally” and I had worked together some, and even shared a cubicle, but I didn’t know a whole lot about her, and vice versa. Having never been to Boston, we planned to get there early to have some time to knock around the city and become “wicked smaht”, taking in a game at Fenway, noshing on “chowdah” and exploring that historic city on foot (I kid you not—my Fitbit recorded over 27,000 steps one day!).

It was at the restaurant and bar of that classic Boston sitcom Cheers that Sally and I ordered a beer and some appetizers on that first evening, and we opened up a bit to each other. I’d always admired her calm demeanor and the pictures of her adult children – a young man and young woman, both of whom seemed to love taking pictures with their adorable parents, based on the number of family pictures on Sally’s desk. Sally’s husband was a believer, and they attended church together every Sunday. Sally never said a bad word, was gracious, and was never afraid to admit a knowledge or experience deficiency, but always sought to learn and grow.

 

Perhaps it was lateness of the evening after a long flight; perhaps it was the headiness of the beer that loosened my tongue, but I told Sally that it seemed to me that she lived a charmed life. She smiled a knowing smile and said that it sure did seem that way. I was either too tired or too slow, but I didn’t pick up on the nuance of what that meant.

We bopped around Boston the next day, and attended the conference, filling our minds with new ideas, our cameras with exciting new pictures, and our palates with local flavors and drinks, her comment forgotten. It wasn’t until the afternoon before we left that she shared that her husband had been diagnosed with cancer, as she sought to explain why she had to get back to the hotel so hurriedly, as she and her husband were going to call their daughter in Tennessee to share the news. I believe we stopped and I prayed right then and there for them both, and I’ve didn’t stop until he’d finished his treatments.

 

Friends, I share this story not to show you how great a person I am because I’ve prayed for them. I share it because it demonstrates how attentive we each need to be to each other. Since we all belong to the body of Christ and are in fellowship, we need to be sensitive to what is going on in His body, in all aspects—those we can see, like physical conditions, and those we cannot easily see, like someone struggling with a negative self image or emotional baggage from a past that continues to haunt.

 

I daresay that everyone has struggled at some point in their lives, and sometimes the pain of that struggle does not dissipate with age or experience. I’d venture to say that in any given crowd, a very large number of people are hiding a hurt, carrying a burden that has defined them for so long that they don’t know who they are without it. Like my friend Sally, their lives may seem to be charmed or at least normal, but were we to peer closer, past defense mechanisms designed to divert, we might find something different. It is in that place we can stand in the gap and minister to them.

 

To those in our midst who are hurting, I ask that you not bear that burden alone. I ask that you consider sharing it with those close to you, and consider asking for prayers of those with whom you do not want (nor have!) to share. You are not alone.
 

To those in our midst who want to help, I ask that you pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal those people who need your prayers, attention, and love, even if they are strangers. Once He has, act on what He shows you. It is the reason we are here.

 

Prayer Requests

  • For our nation, and for our government at all levels
  • For Him to show us where and how we can best glorify Him
  • For us then to be obedient
  • For our pastor search committee

 

It may take a couple of tries to minister to some people, even those with whom we fellowship. Don’t fret—God will be pleased with your persistence, and He will be glorified by your obedience in joining Him in that ministry.

 

Quotes

“Be careful when you follow the masses. Sometimes the ‘M’ is silent.”

 

“Asking for prayer isn’t about putting burdens on friends. It’s about letting them walk with us down a path we were never intended to walk alone.” — Renee Swope