A friend sits across from me - shoulders slumped, face down - and recalls recent events that have filled this dear heart with overwhelming sadness and despair. Words fell from down-turned lips as the emotions rolled off the body like waves. Forgotten. Worthless. Anger. A look up toward the sky as expressions of "Why God?" are shouted.
A beautiful human soul left in the dust.
We all know the story of the Good Samaritan - it is a story that is taught to us from an early age. Even those who have not been raised in the church seem to know this story. It offers a wonderful allegory on how to (and, how not to) care for someone who has been injured on their journey. But, do we understand this parable? Do you take to heart the mandate set forth? And, do we apply it to our lives in a meaningful way?
A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. (Luke 10:30)
If you see someone who has been wounded - physically, emotionally, legally, spiritually - stop and give aid. Honestly, it is just that simple. A wound is not always something that can be seen and as neighbors we are to be vigilant in watching for the well-being of those around us. Pay attention! Keep your eyes peeled! Who is God putting in your path today?
NOT MY PROBLEM
By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. (Luke 10:31-32)
Seeing someone who has been wounded can be a scary thing! We tend to assume the worst about these two men used as examples of what not to do but in all reality - we shouldn't judge. Now, it looks bad. It looks like these two are just not willing to care for their neighbor and, in reality, that is probably a fair assessment. They most likely thought in their mind, "Not my problem!" We should also entertain the notion that their actions were driven by fear. It is noteworthy to mention that helping someone who has been wounded is not only a caring act but it is a brave act.
What if the wounded person was a robber? What if they were already dead? We know for sure that the man lying in the path was at this point quite physically and spiritually unclean so what then? Goodness! Who has time for this? It's simply NOT MY PROBLEM! I cannot get involved!
LIKE A GOOD NEIGHBOR
Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ (Luke 10:34-35)
Noticing the wounded man, the Samaritan stopped assessed the needs and took action. Notice that the Samaritan did not tell the man to get up and help himself. He did not demand that he find something to cover himself with because he did not want to see his nakedness. He did not yell for someone else to take care of him. No, he spared no cost, sprung to action, and took this man who had been wounded so deeply. He allowed himself to become the very hands of God. Through his action, the displayed the heart of God.
THE CALL TO ACTION
Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.” (Luke 10:36-37)
Jesus ends this parable with a mandate - now that you know better, do better. As I looked across at my downtrodden friend, I thought to myself, "How can I do better for this wounded soul?" Sometimes the wound is so overwhelming to both the victim and the on-looker that a pause has to take place. A pause is not a problem! The pause shows that we are taking the wounded's pain seriously and we are seeking a careful answer. That answer can look vastly different depending on the role God's needs you to take on in this person's healing.
The answer may be to lend a listening, non-judgmental ear. The answer may be to physically meet a need. It may be that you commit to serious prayer for and with the person God placed in your life.
The answer is NEVER to cross the road and keep walking. This is not fulfilling the mandate to leap into action.
You may feel that you have far too little to actually make a difference. Let me tell you that there is no such thing as "far too little" when it comes to healing. In fact, there are times when those with "far too little" offer the most impact! A kind word, time spent, investing a little money, or even helping to find someone who can meet bigger needs - these are all actions that can go a long way toward the healing of a wounded heart.
When all else fails and you just do not know what to do, sit with the friend, ask what they need - if they don't know then continue to sit and be patient until one of you comes to the understanding of what to do. We live in such a fast-paced world. Healing takes time. Hold space for that healing so that when it comes you have room to accept it in. This goes for both the wounded and the one who is desiring to help.
"If you are starving and can find nothing to satisfy your hunger, then come.
Come, and you will be filled."
Have you ever been in the position of having to smile through a storm? On the outside, you plaster a smile on your face while you straighten your back in order to look like you have it all together. But, on the inside, you are crying - you are screaming for someone to see through the facade and make it all better. Oh, friend! I have been there!
In fact, I may or may not be there right now. In fact, I may or may not be preaching to myself right now! If you don't mind, I am going to continue on with reminding myself about some things God led me to that bring me back to shalom.
You have my permission to eavesdrop.
KEEP IT SIMPLE, SISTER
In all my efforts to grab hold of shalom, I often find myself concocting elaborate travel plans on how to get to my destination. Most of the time, these plans are made while I am laying in bed attempting to quiet my mind enough to fall asleep. By the time morning comes, my elaborate plans have been forgotten.
Because they were too grand! Too elaborate! Too much for an already bogged down soul to carry even through one night.
The beginning of 2018 God told me, "Keep it simple, Sister!" He wanted me to lay down all my elaborate plans and "just" sit with him. He did not need me to busy myself; he needed me to quiet myself. In the quiet, I would find that seemingly elusive shalom.
WHEN IN DOUBT, WORSHIP IT OUT
Worship can blow your mind! My family has been through so much over the past few years that sometimes life feels completely unbearable. Those times have always been remedied by worship. For me, worship looks like singing really loud or grabbing one of my sets of banners and dancing. It always involves music.
Recently, I have found that worship also looks like praying alone in my car using my prayer language. A lot of times, I find myself speaking very quietly - very gently.
How do you worship? I would love to know what you do that brings your focus back to the sweet shalom of our Creator.
COME, AND YOU WILL BE FILLED
In the quote (see above) by Jeanne Guyon, the word "come" is used twice. The simplicity of the word does not escape me. God does not require us to become presentable before we come to him. No where does he instruct us to get our act together and then come. In fact, quite the opposite!
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis."
Matthew 11:28 TPT
Not only does he want us to come to him, he has appointed times for us to meet up! Scripture outlines holiday (feasts, festivals, celebrations, fast days) for us to set ourselves aside and focus on our family, community, and HIM! He did this for US! Each Friday night, we are to set aside life for awhile and rest - this is Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Now, not all of us can take all of that time but we can certainly take the spirit of the time. Setting aside time for a weekly family dinner complete with prayers, a special meal (remember to keep it simple), and a time of family worship is enough to set us right for the week ahead.
We come - he fills.
He's good like that!
THE UPCOMING SEASON
Fall is coming! The holidays are upon us! Join Nourish Ministries as we walk through the Biblical Holidays and find SHALOM in the traditions of SHABBAT, ROSH HA'SHANAH, YOM KIPPUR, SUKKOT, AND MORE! We are going to celebrate, feast, fast, worship, and spend time going before the Most High God as we allow his appointed times to bring us the peace so we desperately seek.
For as long as I can remember, I have had a passion for helping others to find their healing. The past few years have been a test in trusting the Creator for provisions and living in complete and total worship to my King. As I find myself coming through the other side of the valley, I am learning to live with both wings moving; flying balanced and fully committed to the process of living a life of faith and trust.