The boys and I spent an evening in the emergency room this week. There were many people there with various ailments, some coughing, some bloody and some asleep from the wait. The hospital was doing a great job accommodating everyone but the severity of the conditions and amount of people were a bit overwhelming as we waited our turn.
There was a middle aged woman pacing the floor. She was dressed casually and fashionable. She looked anxious but not ill. The look on her face told me this wasn’t her first rodeo. There is a suffering that comes that teaches things you cannot get in a book. Those words were written on her face although I can’t exactly explain how I knew that. The fellowship of suffering is a real and tangible thing and once you’ve been to that place you recognize it in others.
Later on I was able to hear the woman’s story and since I do not have permission to share it, I will keep the details private. It was a brief encounter. Her son was there with a serious problem. Her other son was there comforting him. The worry on her face looked how my heart felt in that moment. You could tell that her older son knew how to comfort his younger brother. You could see that this woman loved them both and had invested a lot in her family. In spite of real, deep pain and agony their love for one another was beautiful to behold. It was sacred and told a story words could not express.
I offered water and prayer but nothing but getting in to see a doctor would alleviate their concern. I let her know we would be praying and I sincerely ask anyone reading this to pray for that family because they need a miracle for life to continue in any normal way.
This is what gripped me that evening. She was scanning the room, looking for solutions, wondering about the outcome, wondering if things would turn out alright. I was a total stranger and so desperately wished I could fix their pain. Her searching eyes and focus on helping her son stirred me to pray. Her love and concern still linger in my mind as I remember her desperation. The need is so great that only God can help them.
Jesus is merciful. Eleos (Greek word for mercy) means He stands waiting to help, waiting to be compassionate and kind, ready to assist and show love. He not only sees our struggle but WANTS to help. That is not just for the righteous or those who have daily devotions. It’s not for those who are members of churches or sing certain hymns. It is who He is at His core.
That mom would have done ANYTHING in the world at that time to help her son. Yes, you reason, but that’s a mom’s natural love for a child she has birthed and raised up in this world. That’s much different than a holy God who reigns the universe.
Consider this verse: 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15 ESV
Could that same God welcome you? Me? He’s pretty far up there in rank and authority. He sees all of our sins and failures. He knows all of our flaws. Sometimes I feel like I can’t reach Him. Sometimes I question if He cares about a little worm such as myself. Sometimes I feel very carnal and small. But when I lose my way, when my vision grows dim I can look at Jesus and see what He was like on this earth. Reading God’s word reminds us that our fears are about us and not how God feels at all. Matthew 14 reminds us Jesus helped Peter walk on the sea; people touched just the fringe of his garment and were healed. He didn’t just sit in the synagogue and yell “next” when people came to Him. He continually demonstrated His fathers’ compassion and care so we would know His character, His heart.
If we have come to Christ, He does not stand aloof, just begging us to go to church. He stands postured to extend the mercy of the Father, He stands with open arms wanting to help, wanting to hear, wanting to bless. Not just because He’s merciful, not just because we are pitiful, but because we are SONS – adopted heirs. He loved us so much He died on a cross to provide real answers and solutions to our real needs.
One prayer request I’ve waited for over eight years for an answer, without any response. Another one, four years. When God is silent we are tempted to think He is aloof, uninterested or even possibly rejecting us along with our need. But that is contrary, opposite of His nature. Time erodes our faith, circumstances cloud our hope. The Life of Jesus, His character, grace and actions SCREAM the opposite of what the world or our fears tell us, if we will only pause long enough to hear. He is not only true, He is merciful. He is not only alive, He sees and hears and wants to help.
I’m asking God to intervene for that worried mama in the ER. I’m asking God to reveal himself to the young man encouraging his little brother. I’m asking God to continue to show me how deep and wide and strong is His love for me. I’m not a passing stranger He wants to impress, I am His adopted SON (same title for daughters) and He stands waiting to help, assist, offer compassion, love and kindness.
Thank you Jesus. Though I do not always see it, though I take it for granted, you want to support, bless and guide. Help us see who you really are today and who we are as adopted sons. Thank you for letting me encounter compassion in the midst of pain.