Something Larger Than Myself
I met with an elderly friend this week, who is unable to get out. It’s not just a lack of transportation, you see, she’s paralyzed. In my last visit we had one of our more meaningful conversations.
“Hi Elsie, how are you doing today.”
“I’m okay as it goes, but I’m struggling with feeling so empty and alone. People come to visit me, which I greatly appreciate. It helps me to not feel so alone, but there’s something missing. I don’t know what it is.”
“Tell me more about the about emptiness and loneliness.”
“Before the accident I was so active. I attended church every time the doors opened. I was involved in youth group, went to camp, and had sleepovers with my friends, but that’s been nearly fifty years ago. I felt as though I belonged to something greater than myself, but all that is gone. I don’t know why God still has me alive. I’m of no use to him. While I have some use of my hands, I’m dependent on someone else to care for me, even in the most basic things. I never thought my life would end up this way.”
“You know, Elsie, I just saw online that there’s a new church without walls. It’s a place where there’s on online community and it has a global reach. Just think, you could listen to an online sermon at the same time that someone is listening in China, or India, or Japan. I wonder if God has a purpose for you here. What if you listened to the sermons, and allowed the Lord to move you to pray for others listening to the same sermon. Just like you feel alone and empty, there are others out there feeling the same way. What if you prayed for them, and allowed God to use your situation to reach others in ways that only eternity can tell the story?”
“I never thought about that. Most of the time I feel so useless, but it is encouraging to me to think that God might connect me to a global community of believers, for whom I could pray. You say they have online sermons? What else can you tell me about them?”
“Well, the mission of the Set Apart Church is to touch real people in whatever place of life they find themselves, like you. They want to reach and engage those who want seek wholeness in Christ. It says here that they believe God can touch a person wherever they’re at, which of course, we know is true from experience, don’t we Elsie? They exist to bring the Word of God to people who, for whatever reason, are not able to come to church. What do you think?
“It’s certainly worth checking out. Maybe we can listen to a sermon now together.”
“That sermon on the Thorn in The Flesh hit home,” I said.
“Yea, the state of my physical body is certainly a thorn in the flesh. I liked the definition of it as a chronic infirmity, and the Lord gave Paul the thorn to keep him humble. I’ll say one thing…having to depend on people on a daily basis keeps me humble. I have to admit though that sometimes I feel angry about my situation, which I suppose is normal, but you’d think after all these years I would accept it, like the pastor of the church online is talking about. How do I accept the thorns I’ve been given? It’s a struggle. I suppose I’m more accepting than I was years ago, but I can’t say I’ve owned it as the sermon suggests. Maybe I can begin to embrace my place in life by the things that it allows me, such as praying for those who listen to the sermon I’m listening to, and praying for countries where these sermons go. Perhaps this is using my condition for his glory. I’m going to pray I can be like the woman that Pastor David talked about, who, though the environment was deplorable, says ‘it’s better higher up.’ Now I feel a chance to once again connect to something larger than myself.”
“Wow, Elsie! We sure had a good conversation today. You’ve encouraged me and challenged me too—all this from the Set Apart Church.
Kathleen A. Trissel
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