Day 6 – Get Away From Me
Throughout my time in the hospital(s), I had Christian men and women come to pray for and with me. People I had never met, hospital chaplains, deacons of local churches I had never attended, friends and family, people spiritually covered my life in prayer. As a follower of Christ, you may have thought I happily embraced these visits… I didn’t.
Repeatedly I waived men and women out of my room. I refused to pray with them. My despair turned to a feeling of defeat. You know, even though I waived these people out of my room… they continued to show me compassion, love, and empathy.
Looking back, I can see God using every prayer, every donation, every song, every kind thought of my Christian brothers and sisters to testify about the truth and love of Jesus. Before the wreck I can remember praying over and over for my older brother to come back to his faith. Months after the wreck, he would tell me that God used the wreck, specifically how the church showered us with love and support, to bring him back to his faith.
Thinking about it now, I guess I wanted to suffer in isolation and silence and then I wanted to be angry that I was alone and didn’t have any one to talk to. I think more than anything I was angry at God and every person who came to me in his name I wanted to ignore. I knew the truths they were sharing but at that exact moment, those truths hurt me even more.
Although I may never get to tell the men and women who relentlessly prayed and visited me, thank you, I am thankful for all they did. I wonder if in your grief, you are doing what I did. Pushing your church family away. Ignoring the calls and texts from your Christian friends. It’s interesting that in our suffering we always think our situation is unique and no one can understand…
First today I want you to remember Scripture tells us to bare one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), you don’t have to do this alone. The church is a community and partly it is through the love of our brothers and sisters in Christ that God comforts and strengthens us. Scripture tells us to grieve with those who grieve (Romans 12:15). Don’t do what I did, but if you have been, stop. Time and time again we pray for a miracle or a word from God to comfort our hearts but then we refuse to hear our fellow servants speak. Let others hurt with you, don’t grieve alone.
Second I want to remind you as C. S. Lewis once wrote: Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. Right now the pain, grief, and despair are so loud that you may not hear God calling, but trust that He is. God not only knows about your pain, but as the Psalmist says: he “collects our tears in a bottle” (Psalm 56:8).
Today’s Prayer: Lord, we confess that sometimes we resist the help you want to give us. Lord we send away those you send to comfort us and pray with us, the pain blinds us and makes us numb. Please keep sending faithful men and women to minister to us, even when we send them away. Please break down the walls we’ve built around our grief and suffering. Let us help others bare this spiritual burden Lord. More than anything, please help us bare it. Today we pray you would give us strength to pickup our cross and follow you, in Jesus name.