“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12 NIV
“Hi neighbor, how are you?”
“Good, thanks… I lost my ear, ya know.”
“Yep. Skin cancer. I just finished my thirtieth chemo treatment. They think they got it all.”
“I had no idea! I am so sorry… is there anything I can do?”
“No thanks, I’m not getting another ear…. well… come to think of it… there is something you can do. Pray… Lots of prayers… Thank you. Have a good day!”
This is how Day 17 of 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting began for us… Sometimes the neighbor right beside you, that waves a friendly “hello” every day may be going through an immeasurable struggle… secretly suffering. Unbeknownst to you, they are experiencing the most excruciatingly painful season of their life. So what do you do with that?
Well, our first suggestion is that you try to engage a bit more deeply with those in your life. When you say, “Hi! How are you?” Do you wait for a response? Or are you already three steps away by the time the sentence rolls off of your tongue? No, we don’t expect you to minister to everyone, but there are people in your life who you may feel the Lord pressing you to open up your heart to…
And when you do find someone in a struggle, pray for them. Maybe they aren’t walking with the Lord and praying over them in the moment would freak them out. So, silently as you walk away, ask the Lord to bless them, heal them, help them, love them…and help you to love them. Ask God to show you if there is some action He wants you to take to bless their life.
Some scriptures you may feel led to pray over them:
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you” -Isaiah 43:2 ESV
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” -1 Peter 5:10 ESV
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” -Revelation 21:4 ESV
Then, as you go through life, try to show more grace. That rude clerk at the grocery store? The one you think hates you? Maybe she stays up all night with a daughter on a feeding tube. That teenager who just cut you off in traffic? Maybe he is suffering with the sudden loss of a parent to cancer. That co-worker who is always complaining? Maybe his wife left him. That lady on the Metro, who just stole your seat? Maybe she’s an exhausted single mother whose husband was murdered…and she’s working two jobs desperately trying to make ends meet… or maybe she’s on the way to the hospital to visit her daughter…who just had a miscarriage.
So many people around us are secretly suffering. The pain may leak out in other ways that we don’t at first recognize. But with the love of Jesus, we can see deeper and extend His love, mercy, and grace. There are times when we need to stand up for ourselves, but there are also times for us to step aside and say, “You first. God bless you.” So put down your sword. Let them have your seat. Let them cut in front of you in line. Love them like Jesus.
Thank you for joining us for Day 17 ‘in the life’ of our fast here at RISENfitness. We are learning how to love people ‘secretly suffering’ right beside you:)
Here’s to your Health and 21 Day Fast!