My thoughts are a whirlwind at times... try to hang on here...
While visiting family, I was at the church my mom attends and though at the moment I do not recall the exact situation, they were praying for someone that was battling cancer or some other such nastiness. I hope my thoughts and intentions come across the way I intend, the way I feel them. Please forgive me if they do not.
While sitting there listening to this prayer... I thought to myself... SO often we pray SO fervently for healing for someone that is fighting for their life. There are people suffering all sorts of illnesses. We all know or have known someone in a situation like that... if you don't, you will soon enough. That's life on earth. We are imperfect beings and we face all sorts of physically challenges in life.
Anyway.... I was thinking about how we can get SO worked up and passionate about one person that is battling cancer in a hospital... but, for some reason I was thinking... what about the lost? What about those struggling mentally? I started thinking, I wanted to go ask the pastor if they would stop and say such a passionate and desperate prayer for those that are needing God today. I did not talk to the pastor after the service was over(5 kids will distract a person rather quickly...)
But, I'm hoping to have this passed on to the leaders of that church... not because that church in particular needs to hear these thoughts... but, simply because it is there that I felt this urge.
The "lost" are really easy to pray for...... We have a good idea of how serious that situation is. But somehow, I don't find people standing around CRYING out for them to find Jesus. Those are not prayers I hear often... I think one of the reasons there is of the distance we have between ourselves and "them". I don't mean that quite as harsh as it sounds. Think about this though... Someone that attends the same church as you... that you are friends with... that you see every week. When they're in the hospital facing something as huge as cancer... you fall down on your knees and seek healing for them. Why? Because they're family. They're close to you. They're close to the church body... hey, they're part of it. But, these other people... they aren't part of that family... the body. They're outsiders... And, somehow cancer seems far more immediate than a person's salvation. Read that sentence again please. Somehow, cancer seems more immediate than a person's salvation...
Reading that out loud, just doesn't sound right does it? With something like cancer... you know what you're facing and you may even have a timeline to go by. When it comes to whether or not someone you know has accepted Jesus... well, the pressure just isn't there is it? It's not quite the same.
Shouldn't it be? Shouldn't it actually be far more pressing than cancer? (after having and writing all these thoughts down, don't think I have this all together myself... this is a challenge for me as well)
Shouldn't we be on our knees literally crying out to God... begging for those we know and those we meet to have a relationship with God? I sure think we ought to far more often than we do. I have family members that I need to be praying for more often. It is SO easy to forget about those things.
And what about mental challenges? I personally struggle with anxiety, depression, and more almost daily. And, it can be crippling and it can defeat me quite often. I sometimes write about my struggles... some days, I just say "blah". Some days I want to give up. MANY people face these challenges and more. But, if someone in the church was feeling that down... would such urgent prayers be lifted by so many? I dare say, it is not looked at in the same way as a physical challenge. But, it should be. Mental challenges are very real... and they can be deadly at times. They are something we should take seriously. A problem with that is, many people don't know how to handle those situations. You see, cancer is common enough these days... it's not contagious... A car accident, common enough... but, someone having 3 arms... you can't help but look at them... confused... curious... and, many can't help but to distance ourselves from such differences. If my nose was on the side of my face instead of the front... you might not want to look at me for fear of staring... It's not normal... Hey, it's okay to say that... it IS different. Mental challenges are the same. They are not "normal" BUT, they are far FAR more common than even cancer. People struggle all around you but nobody wants to talk about it.
I will admit that... mental challenges are a bit more uncomfortable and I understand that. If I was thinking about hurting myself, I might not want my church sharing that info with the entire congregation for fear that everyone would be staring and talking about me after that... as opposed to people(for example) praying that my sprained ankle heals quickly. There's no shame and awkwardness for something like that. At any rate, I don't expect churches to start opening up and praying for people in such a way that would embarrass and hurt reputations... But... these challenges are REAL, Dangerous, immediate, and quite serious... These things NEED to be prayed over... by someone...
I do not want to see a decrease in the amount of prayers lifted up in church for those struggling physically... But I sincerely do hope to see an increase in prayer for those struggling mentally and for the lost. We ALL need those prayers...... not just those lying ill in a hospital.
Lastly... a challenge to all... more that I was thinking about while sitting in church that Sunday............
You're not a doctor right? So, God didn't put you in someone else's life to heal them of cancer.
BUT........ What about the lost? What about those facing challenges of the mind? Those that are lonely or depressed? Did God not put US in those people's lives for JUST that purpose?
I can sit and pray for someone I know that is lost all that I want....... I can ask God to reach them... but, am I not His hands and feet? Do I really expect God to put someone else in that person's life to reach them?
Dear Lord, I really hope that my cousin's aunt's son would find you... please put someone in their life to show them the way...
Really? I will admit, I feel that way sometimes. Friends and family alike... I desperately want them to find Jesus... But, where am I in that? I challenge you, and me, to BE that witness... to find the lost and show them the way. And to fall down on our knees and BEG God to help us in that.
What is cancer compared to a lost soul?
And those facing the struggles of the mind...
That person over there... they're so down on life... they're so weird... kind of freaky even... How in the world can I talk to them?
So many of us either pretend that mental illness doesn't exist OR... we want to TELL the other people how to live. Unless you been in those situations... you cannot understand them and therefore... it is understandable if you do not know how to face someone struggling with such things. BUT... just because you don't get it and it's awkward... doesn't excuse you from reaching out to them. Not in the least. Those people need just as much, if not far more help from others than someone lying in a hospital bed. They need YOU. Really. God may have put YOU in their life for that very reason. To be a comfort... to be a friend. We can't sit back and quietly say "hey God, I think that person over there might need you..." No... I personally believe God chose you to BE that help that the person needs. YOU are the answer to that prayer. You really can be. You can't heal those things on your own. If someone is depressed, your awesomeness isn't going to heal them... but, your presence and friendship can be far more helpful and appreciated than a bowl of chicken noodle soup to someone with the flu. Step out of your comfort zone and listen to your heart.
If someone you knew had cancer and you happened to have a pill in your possession that would cure them or even just make them feel better... would you give it to them?
For some people and situations... you are that miraculous pill. Or, you have that in your possession in your relationship with God. You have something awesome that you can share with others. Do not keep it to yourself. The world needs you... desperately.
Anyway... I hope at the very least... this note will get you thinking... thinking about how you pray and how you think about and treat others... If you were stuck down in a pit, would you want someone to reach down to help you out? We expect God to do all but the truth is... He works though US. Let Him use you in such a way.
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