Our hearts matter. Really! They matter to God and they should matter to us collectively.
Personally I crave human interaction more than social interaction. I like a good party, small talk about make up, food and fashion for sure. But the heart to heart with someone who can articulate vulnerably what they have reflected on without the hint of shame or the need for a pick up, priceless! If they have also developed the ability to listen without the need to fix or encourage me… heaven!
Are you the same? I know plenty of people who need different things according to their personality. So I am not assuming everyone has to be that way. Don’t misunderstand me, genuine encouragement is always a treat!! But sometimes it is not about encouragement (or a pep talk at all). Or not first of all. Just being TOGETHER in the mess as well as the joy… that is priceless!
It is good for the soul to feel someone else’s burdens and to feel someone feels yours with you. Truly caring as though the problems were truly yours! It is called love and bearing with one another. It is a humble service to another, love in its sincerest way.
A while back my son had a tough day and came home his face in anguish. He blurted his frustration out about being unfairly treated and because he wasn’t able to find the right words he just looked at me said: “SHIT! SHIT SHIIIIIT!” Understanding where he came from, and seeing the horror on his face as we usually do not swear in our household, I leaned in, hugged him and said: “I can totally understand why you would feel this way. I would feel “shit” too!” His eyes softened, we laughed because we both said “the word” and it made way for a lovely conversation.
I also remember visiting my 30 year old aunt, dying of cancer within only seven weeks of diagnosis. It’s been 15 years or so but I still remember it. She asked me to come and pray. I was at bible school at the time. Faith filled and believing for miracles. As I entered her room, still believing and confessing God CAN heal her, I was overwhelmed with her state. I took her hand, closed my eyes and listened. And I sensed her anguish for her daughter and husband and friends. So instead of praying for her miraculous healing, I prayed for her daughter and husband, for her friends and for peace as if they were my burden. And I heard him say to her: “This has nothing to do with sin or wrongs on your part!” And so I told her. God’s presence really increased in the room. I hope tangibly for her too. I definitely felt assured. He was there. With her. Agreeing with our prayers.
Two very different situations. And yet very real to the individual. In a real place of anguish, survival and of doubt, God doesn’t pile on the rules. He gets it! That’s so good! He doesn’t weigh the one anguish against the other. He understands being unfairly treated only too well. He is been sitting in that tension for a long while. He is going nowhere. He will not abandon us! When we are going through it, he is not taking a break from us, going to work or even on holiday. He is ever present! Steady-ing us, holding us…
It is beautiful isn’t it! We are not too much for Him. The battle is real and he will make sure we come through the storms of life victoriously. And that is what I love about God. He came to live among us. Not just talk or teach to us from a distance. He came, so we would feel understood, to identify with us, to show us how we are to live, how we are to die, to speak to us directly not from afar.
Last week, I mentioned Job’s friends in my blog. Of how God was not happy with them as to how they treated Job in his hour (or season) of need. But they didn’t do all wrong. They visited him in his suffering. They empathised and wept with him. They stayed with him, commiserating him, in silence! But then this horrible notion comes over his friends and they gave him speeches, as to why God allows suffering and that it must be because Job somehow had done wrong (as if he was not checking his heart before the Lord all by himself, righteous as he was), urging him to repent. And it reminded me of situations where I had judged wrongly and been wrongly judged according to circumstances. When we cannot understand why something bad and difficult is happening to good people, we tend to look for the wrongs. We follow up with trying to fix the person, instead of enduring the struggle with them.
And of course, Job was inconsolable, even self righteous. But he did not deserve any of the horrendous stuff that was happening to him. And that is why God was angry with his friends. They “…have not spoken the truth about…” God. The struggles Job was enduring were not a reflection of his behaviour. It was a test for a greater purpose in Job’s life. And God did bless Him twice as much as he lost. Not just materially either. His heart was made whole again.
‘Being’ in a world of ‘doing’ isn’t always easy. I get that. Especially if our circumstances force us to endure without seemingly being able to do anything about our circumstances.
That in between place!
Where circumstances get worse, or remain unchanged however much you pray and try to change things. It is a shit place!
Another blogger wrote this:
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” You might be living the first half of this proverb… but the second half is coming. YOU SECOND HALF IS COMING!