“Love that is put into practice always gives us a lift. Love with it’s sleeves rolled up, with muscle behind it, love that looks for a need and rushes to meet it, love that does something – that’s the kind of love that ministers most. That’s the sort of love the Lord Jesus has for us.” — Joni Eareckson Tada
One of the great tragedies leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor was that the blips on the radar screen were not heeded and were disregarded, resulting in disastrous consequences. What must it feel like for the many people all around us who “fly beneath our radar,” or maybe they just appear as a “blip on our screen’ which we deem insignificant, and we forget them the moment they’re out of our sight? Who are these people in our life? We may see them, but not take the time to know them or their needs.
For many of these “walking wounded,” their life experiences may be ones of feeling invisible, feeling disconnected from those around them, not feeling a part of their surroundings, feeling like they are an outsider looking in, and feeling the pain of not being included.
In Psalm 142, David describes his experience with many of these painful feelings of alienation and loneliness. In his book, A Bend in the Road, Dr. David Jeremiah makes observations about David’s circumstances, and then describes how many people feel the same despair today. He writes, “Even with a mob of “supporters” closing in, David is more convinced than ever that nobody really cares about him. No one knew the depth of his emotions; no one cared what he felt or how he suffered. Have you ever felt alone in a crowd of four hundred? It may seem a contradiction in terms, but anyone who has ever been lonely will confirm that the greater the number of people present, the more intense can be the feeling of loneliness.” Unfortunately, many people experience these feelings in our churches. They suffer all the more because gathering with the body of Christ should be the one place where they feel noticed, welcomed and included.
Joseph Parker, a great preacher of yesteryear, once said to a group of aspiring young ministers, “Preach to the suffering and you will never lack a congregation. There is a broken heart in every pew.”
In his book, Improving Your Serve, Charles Swindoll says, “Our world has become a large impersonal, busy institution. We are alienated from each other. Although crowded, we are lonely. Distant. Pushed together but uninvolved. The motivation to help, to encourage, yes, to serve our fellowman is waning…And yet, it is these things that form the essentials of a happy and fulfilled life.”
As the body of Christ, we need to pray that the Lord would give us the eyes to see and ears to hear those all around us who up until now have flown beneath our radar or have only been blips on the screens of our lives. David Roper writes this prayer that sums this up for us:
“May I become aware of the cheerless voice,
the weary countenance, or the downcast eyes that I,
in my natural self-preoccupation, could easily overlook.”
“Never walk away from someone who deserves help, Your hand is God’s hand for that person.” ~ Proverbs 3:27 (MSG)
Reflections on UNDER THE RADAR
II Corinthians 5:20 (NIV) says “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us; we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
Colossians 3:17 (NIV) says “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
We are God’s ambassadors to a world in pain and suffering. He has sent us out to represent Him, and the only way to do that well is in total surrender to His Lordship, so that the fruit of His Spirit shines through us. If we will commit to be His instrument…His ambassador…every morning, then during the day, He will show us those who so desperately need our help, but who are struggling so much that they cannot even cry out for it. It is our responsibility to be sensitive to His leading. Only then will the needs of our hurting world be met.
Will you seek the Lord’s leadership today? He has opportunities to minister each day already lined up for you. You just need to connect to Him and follow His leadership.
Learn to heed His voice and you will be blessed beyond measure!
Prayer for the hurting person:
Please surround this one who feels invisible with Your presence. Make Your Holy Spirit so evident in the words and actions of those around her that she can see Your love and compassion shining through them into the darkness of her life. Give her grace to make it through the hard days when loneliness threatens like a storm cloud and bring her joy in the midst of suffering so that she can literally feel You lifting her up from despair and desolation. Show Yourself mighty in her life and in the lives of those who reach out to her.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Prayer for the helper:
I want You to shine through me today. Give me Your heart for suffering and Your mercy and grace as You lead me to minister to other people. I choose to step forward in faith today and trust You to lead me. I will obey you Lord!
In Jesus’ name, Amen.