“If those whose lives are marked by quiet desperation, who are painfully aware of their trials and sufferings are going to seek out the Christian for help, it will not be because we appear to live lives that are free from trials but because we are honest about our own sufferings and difficulties.”
This quote was recently sent to me by a good friend and fellow counselor. People helpers are often thought of as carefree, or even invincible. Those we help see us as able to handle most anything that happens in life, and mistakenly believe we “have all the answers.” While it is true that all our answers to the problems of life are found in His Word there is the human element to address as well.
I believe many people helpers in God’s service seem to have more than their share of problems in this life. How we handle them means everything to those who observe us.
I sure don’t claim to have all this figured out… I have my share of sorrowful days and trials. I know I can be sad, and I know my countenance reflects that some times. It is because I am human.
When people look at me, what I hope what they see first is Christ. I hope they see the joy of the Lord living within me despite my own personal sorrow. I hope they can see the love of Jesus emulating from me as I continue to serve others in spite of how I feel each day.
I also hope they can see “hope.” In spite of the circumstances that surround me, that my hope in Christ is secure and strong. While I may waver from time to time in my emotions my hope in that God is actively at work in my life and my heart does not change. I believe that He is bringing Romans 8:28-29 to life in me and that is extremely hopeful! I long to be like Christ and to be conformed to His image and I know the only way must be this way- otherwise He would not have chosen it for me.
I hope they can see joy and laughter, even through the tears I sometimes shed. God has placed loving caring people around me and I am incredibly blessed!
I hope they will also see and hear that I am “real” and not be threatened by that. It is so sad that some people are threatened by the humanity of people they (for lack of a better way to say it) look up to, or consider a role model. Paul was real, Jesus was real, Peter was very real… They all spoke out of the humanity and frailty at times. Jesus even sweat great drops of blood in His humanity!
You see, I honestly believe we do each other a great disservice when we tell those who ask how we are that we are “fine” when we are not. For one that is a lie, and for two how can we help others to know how to handle times of discouragement and sorrow when we won’t admit we have them? I knew a woman once who believed that you always put on the happy Christian face no matter what you were going through. She was actually in the middle of a very difficult pregnancy in which she was told her baby girl would be born without a brain. She told no one and carried on as though nothing was happening. She wrongly believed that she was being a good soldier for Christ by pretending she was not terrified and hurting. She deprived others of the opportunity to pray for her and minister to her and to watch God be glorified in her life.
I have not made a practice of hiding my sorrows and struggles, and I freely share my trials and failures because I believe they are beneficial to those who hear. It is an encouragement to another person to watch a struggle and then to watch the person come out on the other side better, stronger in the Lord, like gold that is a little more refined. Those who have shared their thoughts with me about me have said they appreciate this, because it helps them to know I am real and can identify with them.
Please, let people know who you are- the good and bad. Let others see you struggle and rejoice. This brings 2 Corinthians 1 to life!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.