Tuesday, July 30, 2013
All around me everyday I come in contact with people who are hurting. There isn't a day that goes by that my heart isn't feeling heavy for someone and their loss. Whether it is a marriage separation, divorce, loss of job, loss of loved one it seems as if though loss is all around me. Today's HIS Daily Teachings is about loss, and how we as CHRIST followers should be full of compassion for those who are hurting. Today's reading listed 7 different types of losses:
1. Death of a spouse ~ now I'll be honest in saying that I don't have a clue in what to say or how to act, there just are no words. Whenever this happens, I just say I'm here for you when you need me. You can call me anytime, even if you don't want to talk, but aren't wanting to feel alone. I will sit silently and pray. Sometimes praying is all you can do. Sometimes there just aren't any words.
"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." Psalm 18:2
2. Divorce ~ this is something that is happening everywhere I go. I have seen so many marriages fall apart, in our church, family, friends, neighbors, sadly the list goes on and on. The only thing I know for certain is that GOD is in the business of building marriages, and not tearing them down. I know that D and I have been called to be minister's of marriage as we have been through hard times, and with JESUS at the center we have come through it all. Though it hasn't always been easy, through prayer, determination, and hard work we have made it.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" Hebrews 13:5
3. Marital Separation ~ so often I come in contact with people who are separated and the advice they are receiving is to walk away from marriage. They seek advice from those who have been through divorce, or who are single. I know that the worst thing someone could do is seek advice from someone who is against marriage. I know this first hand as D and have been on divorces doorstep. No one in our families knew that we were there until long after JESUS became the center of our marriage. We sought help through our church, and prayed daily for each other, our daughters. I wish I could say it was easy, but it was one of the hardest times to get through. We got through it because of compassion from GOD, HIS grace was all sufficient for us to get through the hardest part of our marriage.
"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
"Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart." Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
4. Imprisonment ~ I have known several people in my life who's loved one is in jail. It can be a dark lonely time, not only for the prisoner, but also for the family on the other side of the bars. I know that I am called to not judge someone by their sins, but rather hate the sin, and love the sinner. I know in HIS eyes absolutely no one person's sin is greater than any other sin.
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23
5. Death of a close family member ~ I just went through this last year myself. I know that the words that comforted me were the ones who didn't tell me to just be happy, and hurry up and get through it. I held onto the words of compassion that were spoken in love, from those whose hearts were hurting just because mine hurt. Last summer I lost the greatest woman of faith I have ever known. She was 95 years young, and she was my Gram. She was the first person to teach me about compassion, and she left an amazing legacy of how to live with HIS grace, love, kindness, gentleness, compassion, and forgiveness. I pray that one day I will leave that same legacy to my family.
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Colossians 3:12-14
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Matthew 5:4
6. Personal injury or illness ~ some of the strongest people I know and who have the most compassion are those who are living with terminal illnesses. They have more faith, and more compassion of anyone I know. It is through their faith that their lives are a living testament for everyone around them. It is through their faith that HE is reaching the lost and the broken. In my lifetime I have seen so many people come to CHRIST through the faith of someone who is terminally ill.
"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense" Isaiah 12:2
"but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31
7. Dismissal from work ~ everywhere I look people are losing their jobs. People who have been at their jobs for years, decades even, are losing their jobs. Job loss takes away a person's sense of security, and eats away at a person's self esteem, especially when that person is the breadwinner for their family. A lot of times families have to seek assistance, and that is a difficult thing to admit because of a persons pride. When someone is prideful, I know I must understand where that pride is coming from, and NOT judge them. I must be compassionate for their loss, and extend a loving, and helping hand. I truly believe that this is when it is CRUCIAL to be seen as the "Hands and Feet" of JESUS. I am to love them as JESUS loves them, no matter what!
" Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God" 1 John 4:7
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
I know that with each type of loss there are stages of grief, and I should NEVER try to rush someone through them. I know that HE will bring healing and comfort to them in HIS timing, not mine. I know that even though I "think" I am helping, all I'm doing is making them feel even worse. GOD wants me to have a heart of compassion and to say things like: "I can't imagine how you feel, but I want you to know I am very sorry that you're going through so much." ; "Anytime you want to talk, I want to be there for you. I may not know what to say, but I'll listen with love." ; "How are you doing?" This I have learned that if you ask it, mean it, and be ready to hear the answer! " I wish you didn't have to go through this." ; "I want you to know that I am praying for you." I should be filling them with words of comfort and compassion and not try and down play their grief by saying, "I know how you feel" This to me is the worst thing you could say to someone who is grieving as you couldn't possibly know how they feel as you are NOT them. "It's time to get on with your life" Hmmm I'll say heartless much? I must remember it is in HIS timing NOT mine "You're so strong.... you can handle it." In other words oh well if it had to happen to someone, at least it happened to you as you can take it..... wow insensitive. I have actually had those words spoken to me during my time of loss. I remember when I miscarried people said things like, "Oh well at least you have other children so you can love them, and not be empty handed..... WOW.... did this person really just say that?!?
I have learned in my lifetime that loss in inescapable, and we all suffer through it. I have learned what to do and say to someone who is grieving, and I have learned the importance of compassion. I have learned that HIS grace is all sufficient during my time of loss, and learned the true power of forgiveness in HIM.
I pray today that if you are grieving that you know you are not alone. I pray that if you are on the receiving end of harsh judgement or criticism I pray that you will run into HIS loving arms, and fill yourself with HIS truth, love, compassion, and grace. I pray today that HE will place people in your life to lift you with encouraging and loving words. I pray today that you will seek solace in HIM.