“If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered” (Proverbs 21:13, NIV).
When I hurt I want to share with someone who understands what it is like to need a ‘shoulder to cry on’. But often I bear the pain alone. It is not that my loved ones don't care about me but often, due to the cares of this world (which sometimes find them dealing with their own pain) they have no time for me or patience to help me deal with the issues causing me pain. This scenario is not unique to me. We see this in all aspects of life as we journey through.
On my journey, I have found out that when work, social life, church activities or other voluntary projects takes up too much of our time and energy we begin to neglect our loved ones.
In the family setting, some work so hard that their spare time is spent catching up on rest. They simply do not have the time. Others work away from home and the bond with their loved ones gradually loses its elasticity. Many have outside projects that they are always rushing. Everything is, ‘Later!’ When this happens, individuals feel neglected. In cases like these, the pain of a child or partner can go unnoticed and the door is open for the enemy to enter.
When a partner feels that they are being taken for granted trouble starts brewing at home. Many marriages struggle this way and in the end, some die a horrible death by divorce. This then causes a strain on parenting and whether or not it leads to divorce it almost always leads to the home becoming a very unhealthy environment for children.
When the resentment of a child kicks in and starts to manifest itself, through rebellious actions, parents are sometimes confused. The blame will then go in every direction except where it belongs. A child’s grieving may be delayed until their adult years, especially for those who experience their parent’s separation or death in the family. This suppressed grief begins to surface in their adult years and can find them trapped in this destructive cycle of unhealthy relationships.
I was brought up in the church and I expect that caring individual who is understanding and sympathetic to come from within the church. However, I’ve been exposed to various fellowships and find that some leaders become so consumed with church activities and the smooth running of things that they often forget to show God's love, in practical ways. Many broken vessels get trapped in the ‘keeping up appearance club’ or the ‘fine-i-tis club’, covering their pain with church activities and somehow they slip through the net unnoticed.
In the past, there were times I just needed a listening ear. I was not expecting them to have the answers. I just wanted to share my sorrows so that when my morning arrived, they could truly rejoice with me; knowing exactly where I've been. I wanted to bring them into my world, sharing my heart with them. I believed that if they aren’t aware of my pain then they can’t feel my pain in order to weep with me. Therefore, not having understanding of where I’m coming from they cannot truly rejoice with me when I overcome. I have found that they are often so busy they never seem to have the time to listen to my cry so that they can understand my struggle and seek God on my behalf or just be a compassionate soul with a listening ear. Therefore, in isolation, I travelled a very lonely path going through the valleys and climbing the mountains.
However, despite the fact that I travelled a lonely path, I didn't travel alone. God was always with me. Today, He is still with me and He holds my hand and gently speaks to me, reminding me that He will never leave me nor forsake me. His power in me gives me strength and the courage to face and overcome the challenges I encounter.
I don't always understand what God's doing in my life or where He's taking me to, but I've learned to trust that still soft voice and obey God's word. I have learned to cast my cares upon Him, not because I love others any less but because God knows best. This change of thought process finds me resting in His peace (perpetually praising Him and allowing Him to work it all out for me). It helps to ease the pain and make the journey seem much quicker.
When I get to the top of the mountain, I cannot contain the outpouring of His love. I have to share it or I get that feeling of 'fire shut up within my bones.' I just want to shout it from the mountain top so that the whole world can know that, "Even if you travel alone, as long as you embrace God's love and allow Him to direct your path, you too can make it through your dark nights." God is real! He is the Shepherd that guides, protects, feeds, clothes and shelters us. He alone can deliver us from evil.
This, I believe, is why the Scripture says, 'Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ' (Ephesians 6:2). It then tells us in Romans 12:15 that we should, 'Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.’
If we put this in practice, the spirit of envy/jealousy would not have breeding ground among us when others share their joy. Instead, the spirit of love will reign among us and we will be truly happy for our brothers and sisters when they share their overcoming story. The Scripture says, 'Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law' (Romans 13:8). So, let us not harden our hearts to the cry of the weak among us. It is not just the physically injured that feels pain. There are many forms of pain and each individual with pain need to have that experience of being made whole.
Everyone needs love. When the broken cannot find that genuinely caring individual with a listening ear or those willing to offer practical help, these individuals can self-destruct.
Are you willing to be God’s hands and feet to meet the needs of those who are in pain today?Can God use you to bring comfort to the hurting soul who seems to think that God has given up on them? Then ask God to show you how you can help to make a difference in the home, church, workplace or community where He planted you. Your partner is looking to see the qualities of Christ displayed in the way you treat them. Your children need to see the evidence of the love of god living in you. Your members at church, your Sunday school children or youth are looking to see the love you preach of in action. Be an instrument of love.
Are you the individual in pain today? Then I encourage you to join me in Part 2 of this article.
Janice, this is indeed so beautiful, I will follow your next writings on this topic, we all need to be our brother's keepers and help them when we can...thank you and keep sharing for His glory. Justus