“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (KJV)
I thought of the devotional the Lord inspired me to write yesterday called “windows of opportunity”. Sometimes, when I write something, I feel a sense of completion at the end. Other times, I feel I don’t come close to expressing the depths in my heart as I write. So, please bear with me as I try to elaborate a bit more on what I was trying to say yesterday. This is a long one, I'll warn you! :)
Jesus’ compassion was expressed so overwhelmingly when right in the midst of teaching in the synagogue He spotted a woman in the crowd whose physical frame was grossly disfigured and had been for 18 years. The love in His heart, His deep compassion for her, compelled Him to stop teaching and right then and there meet her need. Jesus had a way of making every, single person feel that they were the most important person in the world to Him…because they were. This unnamed woman’s need surpassed everything else at that moment.
My thoughts turn to someone in my life who has become and is ever becoming more and more precious to me as the years pass by. My mother-in-law, Alda, is undoubtedly one of the sweetest, most self-sacrificing, unassuming people I have ever known. She gives of herself continually…to her husband of over 51 years, her children and step-children, her grand-children, great grand-children, siblings, other family members, and friends. If you walk into her home, you can be assured you will find a hug awaiting you at her back door. You will feel genuine warmth that says, “Welcome. I am SO glad you are here. You are special and wanted and loved. It is so good to see you. Sit down and stay as long as you possibly can. I want to spend time with you…you are the most important person in the world to me.”
During my career working outside the home, I heard a lot of talk and complaining about mothers-in-law. Of how nosy and intrusive and overbearing they could be, and how they were an unwelcome piece of baggage that came along with husbands and wives. While I am empathetic by nature, I never could relate to this because my mother-in-law has always been the total opposite. I am so very blessed to have her in my life. I love her so much for so many reasons.
We recently went to
to spend a little over a week with her and Kevin’s Dad. By not seeing my in-laws as often as I would like, I notice things a lot more than if I saw them more regularly. When Mom met us outside on the sidewalk to give us a welcoming hug, I noticed how frail she felt as I hugged her. She has unexplainably lost more weight, and she looked more fragile than when we were there in June. West Virginia
As we walked into her back door together, I noticed the “hump” in her back is getting more pronounced, and I thought of the woman in yesterday’s passage of Scripture who was bent completely over and unable to straighten herself and how Jesus stopped teaching to make her spine completely straight. Oh, how I wish I could do that for Mom! Can you imagine? To be able to call her to me, tell her she is loosed from the infirmity, and then touch her and see her back completely straighten up like it was when I first met her all those years ago? If I had that kind of power, I would stop whatever I was doing and heal every sick person I came in contact with. It would thrill me beyond words to alleviate human suffering and for people to walk away from me completely healed!
I know there is a gift of healing mentioned in the New Testament, and I am a firm believer that God STILL gives that gift to those He chooses, at His discretion. I used to pray for it….my passion to help others made me seek after that gift with such earnest, fervent prayers to God. He never chose to give it to me, and it was a great disappointment because I SO want to be a blessing and help. But, God opened my eyes to ways that I can heal. Do you know we all have the power within us to heal others? Maybe we can’t walk up to a paralytic, command them to rise and walk, and see them get out of their wheelchair, leaping and praising God. But, we can utilize the same tools Jesus did to bring soothing healing to the hurting ones around us.
Let’s study His example and method. First, Jesus stopped what He was doing, and He gave the afflicted woman His full, undivided attention. Second, He called her to Him. Third, He spoke healing words into her situation. Fourth, He touched her.
Wait a minute! I can stop what I am doing when I see hopelessness in the eyes of someone else. I can slow down enough to actually look at them when they walk past me. I can glance into their eyes…take a glimpse into the windows of their soul, and I can discern if they are sad. I can stop running so fast through life that I actually notice, no matter what important work I think I am doing. In this way, I can heal!
Secondly, I can give an invitation calling that person to a safe place. Maybe they don’t ask for help, perhaps we are complete strangers. But, I can say “hello.” I can give them an inviting smile that says, “I care. I can stop and talk if you need to. I see your pain.” Then, if they accept my invitation, I can give them my full, undivided attention while they vent and unload the problems on their mind. I can drop everything else and just listen….until they are completely relieved and strengthened to walk another mile. In this way, I can heal!
Thirdly, I can speak healing words. I can point them to the Great Physician, the Healer, the Lord of my life; the One Who has made such a positive difference in me. I can speak the Word of God to them…those precious, healing words found all throughout Scripture. I can tell them there is hope. That God has plans for their future, and they are plans to prosper and not harm them. (Jeremiah 29:11) That Jesus loves them, that they are important to Him, that He died for them. (John 3:16) In this way, I can heal!
Lastly, I can touch them. The human touch! It is being lost in our modern world of push-button automation. The lack of human touch makes the world a cold and lonely place. Thankfully, I have two hands attached to two arms. I have the ability to reach out and administer healing by being human. By not looking down at others no matter how they smell or what they disclose to me or reveal by their actions or outward appearance. I can be accessible and approachable to them, and I can offer a shoulder to cry on if they need a hug. I can validate their feelings and let them know it’s okay to feel the way they do. In this way, I can heal!
Mom Smith is now 80 years old, and Dad Smith is 86. I wish our visits could be more frequent. I miss them terribly. But, when I am there, I can bring relief by doing all I possibly can to help them. It feels different going there than it used to. Mom used to cook a whole lot more than she does now, and usually, I would get “shooed out” of the kitchen if I tried to wash a dish or cook a meal. Now, my help is greatly welcomed, and more and more often, I am permitted to lift her load. As I watch her age and her health continue to decline, I am grateful for the opportunity to comfort her as much as I can. In this way, thank God, I can heal!