“Today, if I had to answer this question, ‘Where is God when it hurts?’ in a single sentence, I would make that sentence another question: ‘Where is the church when it hurts?’ We form the front line of God’s response to the suffering world.” — Philip Yancey
The scripture is very clear about how we were created to need each other, how interdependent we are as various parts of the body and how we need each other to be complete. An example of this in nature is zebras and wildebeests. Julie Ackerman Link describes this vital relationship, “The herds of these animals travel together because the zebras have good eyesight but a poor sense of smell, and the wildebeests have bad eyesight but a good sense of smell. By traveling together, both are less vulnerable to predators.”
She goes on to say, “Just as God makes animals with different strengths and weaknesses, He made people the same way. God made us to be dependent not only on Him but also on one another. The church is healthy only when we work together, look out for each other and use our strengths to benefit one another.” We need to be aware of the weaker, frail, susceptible, and vulnerable members of the body. As we see in nature, when the wounded, ill, frail and weak animals fall behind they are in grave danger unless the stronger ones come to their defense and protect and shelter them. When one member hurts and suffers, we should come alongside and lift them up. We shouldn’t grow weary in reaching out or put a time limit on how long we will be there for a brother in need. Don’t rob yourself of a blessing when you limit your accessibility to one in pain.
As we reach out, it benefits us as we give of ourselves to those in need. We can become amazed at how much they minister to us, help us, challenge, and inspire us by the way they handle the trials in their lives.
When the body functions as it is intended there is give and take and serving and being served. Don’t overlook the weaker members?
“…it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body, which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our unseemly members come to have more abundant seemliness, whereas our seemly members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it…” ~ I Corinthians 12:22-26 (NAS)
Reflections on WE NEED EACH OTHER
When I think of taking action to help someone and doing more than just saying, “I wish I could help you”, I cannot help but think of the story in Mark 2:1-5. The four friends mentioned in that passage had taken their paralytic friend to see Jesus, and they could not get into the house to ask Jesus to heal their friend. Not only did they go to the trouble of getting together and taking their friend to the house, but when the original plan did not work, they went even further in their efforts to help. Although it is not recorded in the passage, they must have talked among themselves, trying to decide what to do, since they could not get into the house with their friend. Instead of just saying, “Well we tried…Sorry!” they went the “extra mile.” They dug a hole in the roof and lowered their friend down. Jesus honored their faith (and the faith of the paralytic) in seeking Him using such extreme methods, and healed their friend.
What if they had not carried their friend that day? There were four of them. What if one of them wanted to play a sport or do something with his girlfriend or family? What if they got there and saw the big crowd and gave up and went back home? This young man would have spent the rest of his life paralyzed and they would never have known the blessing of seeing their sacrifice bear such amazing fruit! The paralytic was not the only one blessed that day. The friends and everyone in the crowd was blessed by this display of Jesus’ love, mercy and power.
We will never know how many came to belief that day as a result of their act of kindness and compassion for their friend. We don’t know what God wants to do with the actions He is leading us to do. His eternal purposes may go far beyond anything we could imagine.
Are you watching and ready for eternal opportunities like this one? Don’t miss them!
Prayer for the hurting person:
Help this person who is in a position to need others to realize that everyone has been in that place at multiple times in each of our lives. Help them to know that they are not alone…that not only can others understand their need for love and support, but that You Yourself promised in Hebrews 13:5 to “never leave you nor forsake you.” Thank You that, no matter what happens, You are always there for us. Help them to be willing to lean on You more often and in more ways than they have in the past. Help them to hold on to hope for the future while You are leading and training others to step in as Your hands and feet.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Prayer for the helper:
Thank You for creating us to need each other. Thank You for giving us this innate desire to share our lives, our loves, our dreams and our struggles with each other. Thank You for the privilege of encouraging other people in their life journey. Please help me to never forget those who have encouraged me. Lord, sometimes just remind me of the times where I would have been desolate had someone not reached into my life in love to help me in times of crisis. Help me to remember what that felt like and give me an “attitude of gratitude” that cannot help but pour out in blessings in the lives of others.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.