For the last few days on my way home each morning, (after dropping off my children at school) I come across some teenagers. They come my way as I return to my car. These guys are not like everybody else. They are special education boys and girls. Some come in wheelchairs and others walk erratically all the way to their classrooms. Some are helped by an adult or student while others are capable of walking by themselves. The question that comes to mind as I see this peculiar caravan of students is, “how do they feel?” I mean, emotionally. Are they hurting because of their situation? Do they even realize it? Can some of them carry a conversation? Can they really learn something that’ll make them to succeed in life? But what intrigues me the most is, are they hurting?
As I keep meditating on this, I realize that there is more to this world than this distressing scene. What about the people with terminal diseases, or the lonely elders who wander about in America without having a single person who cares for them? What about those innocent kids who suffer unbelievable pain because their parents decided to file for divorce? Does anybody care about those thousands upon thousands of teenagers that have fallen into drugs because of so much emotional pain in their lives?
I have seen so much suffering since the day I set foot in this country, the worst thing of all (if I could choose one) is when I see so many teenagers living by themselves, lost, hurt, completely alone and homeless. Up to this day I cannot think about this without tears coming to my eyes.
Every year I pick a purpose for my spiritual life and ask the Lord to help me grow in that particular area. In past years I have grown to be a more patient person, a little bit more kind, and of course I have come to love the Word of God even more because of the answers to those prayers. This year I picked “to love others” (I haven’t been particularly fond of people in the past) and as the Lord “connects” my heart to others, I cannot help but see so much pain around me, which takes me to another question:
What is the purpose? I mean, there is so much pain in this world and I sincerely think that there is NOTHING, absolutely nothing I can do about it. Besides, this “loving others experience” can be pretty painful and burdensome, even overwhelming at times. Why bother? Is there a purpose at all?
I think there is a purpose and a very important one. For instance: that I grasp the fact that without Christ I can do nothing, and that as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can I, unless I abide in Christ.
I hope that as I am drawn closer to others by the Lord, I will be able to see their need for God. I trust that seeing their fragility, their helplessness will take me to the point where I cannot longer hold the truth that is within me: the truth that Jesus is the only way to the Father; the wonderful truth of His love and His mercy; the amazing fact that He chose to give up his life to save us from our sins; to save us from hell.
I have also found out that as painful as it is to care for others, I can partake of the feelings that Jesus had when he looked at His people and exclaimed: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to you! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! He grieved and cared for his people.
My Lord, my Master understands how I feel, because He has felt the same way as I do sometimes: sad, worried and frustrated. Not because he was not capable (like me) to make a change; but because He loved them and He wanted them to be saved and happy.
I know that you could think, “Come on! Go out there and do something! Feed the hungry, help the poor, donate, volunteer, do something!” and I would agree that there are some things that can be done to ease the pain and need of others, and I have been there, I have done it. It is only that there are many times when we help others without really caring about them; without really looking into their hearts and feeling what they feel and that is what I am really asking from the Lord here: to teach me to really love, to help me to really care.
What about you? How is your personal spiritual journey going? Are you more close to the Lord today than yesterday? Are you cultivating a faith that can move mountains? (Mountains of doubt, mountains of pain, mountains of apathy) Are you using all the spiritual resources that the Lord has sent you for growth? Are you asking the Lord for the changes that you’d like to see in yourself, like me? Are you hurting? Are you sick? Are you lonely?