Helpless and Harassed

The English author C.S. Lewis wrote,

“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks

IMG_49B99134FACD-1in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

It has been a tough week. We are witnessing before our eyes the humbling of the fourth largest city in the United States.  The images we are seeing on our televisions are real. They are difficult to watch because they are people like you and me who are losing everything, literally everything. Furniture, clothing, televisions, cars, precious memories like family pictures, and in some very heart-breaking way are losing their loved ones.

Near where I live, many people have lost their homes and all their belongings in the fires of Western Canada. Through no fault of their own, they were forced to evacuate their homes without notice. Their lives will carry these moments for many years.

What do we do in times like this?  I am reminded of the description of Jesus Christ as he witnessed the helplessness of those who are described as “harassed and helpless”, that he did NOT berate them for being in that position. Nor did he call them out for the evilness of their hearts. Here is what we read about our Saviour, “he had compassion for them.” (Matthew 9:36)

His compassion was a result of seeing the condition of their heart. They are described by Matthew as being “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”  The predicament they were in describes them as people who were in some sense being taken advantage of through no fault of their own. The response of our Lord is so unlike us. We want to find someone to blame! Someone’s head had to roll because of the mess these people were in. But Jesus does not go there.

What Jesus does do it absolutely amazing!  Here is the Son of God with all the power to change the circumstances of these helpless and harassed people. What does he do? He turns to his followers and tells them to pray. What should they pray about? Pray that God would send people to relieve these hurting folks of their difficulty. I find that fascinating. Don’t you?

The “megaphone” of God in the suffering of these dear folks in Houston has as its response, that God’s people pray that He would send compassionate people to help, people who would give if they cannot go and people who will pray.  There are so many agencies that are reaching out right now like Samaritan’s Purse, who are sending chaplains as well as sending physical aid to assist Houston’s hurting people.

God now has our attention! He is moving us to action. Let’s not sit this one out but actively pray, give and if possible, go!

 

The Reality of the Storm

Human beings have the tendency to group together according to language, race, religion and even sports teams!  We like to be with people who think like us and like the same things we enjoy and experience. Resultado de imagen para storms

There is one category of experience that all human beings go through that ties us together. Every person passes through some kind of negative experience. From health, to relationships, to finances, to difficulties at the place of employment, or with the government,  or the sad experience when someone we love suddenly dies, and those who suffer persecution for what they believe.  Job 5:7 expresses it in the following way: “Yet man is born to trouble as surely as  sparks fly upward.”

Here is the question: How do we survive the trouble? How can we make it through? And, what is God after when bad things happen to good people? I think there are 3 things that we need to keep in mind:

  1. The storms of life are common to all people. They will come to everyone on the planet in one form or another.
  2. When we pass through life’s storms we learn who really is in charge.  Every human on the planet likes to think that he/she is in total charge of everything. We believe we are little ‘gods’ who rule and reign. When the storms come we learn quickly that we are not independent creatures left to our own design. We learn that God has a reason for everything that happens and for when it happens.
  3. We learn that when we do pass through the storms of life that we need God! The great biblical example is Job. He needed to know that God could intervene at any time for any reason. Job needed to know that God was God! The storms in life teach us that God is so good that He reminds us our need for Him everyday. So don’t try and go it alone! Ask for His wisdom to teach you the lessons He is trying to have you learn.

In Mark 4, the disciples are with Jesus in a boat! Wouldn’t you love to have Jesus in your boat? Suddenly a storm explodes around them, their become afraid, but Jesus is in their boat! Why were they afraid? They thought, like we do in the storms of life, that Jesus doesn’t care! Here are His words to these trembling sailors, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith.?”

Disciples should know their Master. You and I should know the Master. But we often forget who is in the boat of life with us. God is reminding us that He is always showing us how much we need Him. I am just beginning to learn that lesson. How are you doing with this, my friend?