The last six days have taught me many, many lessons. One is a lesson from which we can all gain great insight and value.
What do you do when someone you know goes through great suffering? I have never known the answer and in my fear and uncertainty I have more often than not been guilty of doing nothing.
I remember one of the first times cancer touched my life. About ten years ago, our Sunday school teacher was diagnosed with cancer. I remember the Sunday they shared his diagnosis with us. I was sitting in a chair right behind his precious wife, Gracie. The Lord laid such a burden on my heart for her and what she must be going through. I sat through the class silently crying yet on the inside my heart was weeping and wailing and wouldn’t stop for a long, long time. I didn’t know them very well, as we had just begun attending the class. The Lord told me to write her a note. He even gave me the words to say. But in my fear, I didn’t. I prayed for them but they never knew it. When he went to heaven I wanted so badly to share with her, to weep with her, to hold her and to hug her. But I didn’t because I felt I had lost my opportunity. Fear had stolen it again.
Another time this happened was a few years ago when I really felt a burden to pray for our pastor and his wife. I really didn’t know them that well. Just well enough to say hi with a smile inn passing. Each morning when I would go the local gym to work out, I would see the pastor’s wife. Many mornings, I would have to get off the treadmill and go hide myself in a bathroom stall and compose myself. I felt such a burden to pray for them. Again, the Lord showed me to send her a letter. He even gave me the words to write. And again, my fear held me captive in a prison of isolation and silence. About a week after the Lord had told me to write to her telling her I was praying, they went through an extremely difficult time. I wanted so badly to go to her and pray the words that I’d been praying all along for her in person. Again, I felt I had lost my opportunity. Fear had stolen from me again.
So, I want to encourage you. If God is telling you to do something for someone you know who is going through a hard time. Just do it. They will receive it. Looking at life and death decisions every minute of the day leaves us exhausted and unconcerned about what our children will eat for dinner or whether they will be on time to school with their homework. I just want them to eat and be lovingly tended.
Over the last six days I have learned this. I will not tell people to “call me if you need something.” I will never hesitate to call, send a note, show up on the doorsteps with a meal, a gift or an offer again. Never. I will not be afraid that I am too much of a “stranger” to share in suffering. Because I have learned in the world of suffering there are no strangers.
Jesus (told) a story, "There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead.
"A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man's condition, his heart went out to him…From Luke 10; The story of the good Samaritan; The Message