SufferingA friend called me last night.
She has a friend who needs a friend. She needs someone who has left footprints on the tough road she is walking now . . . she has been abandoned by her circle. They are weary of providing a shoulder for her tears.
Would I? Could I step into her world of devastation and be a reliever for a bit of time?
I want to. I am familiar with the ache of her wound. Healing has come now, joy restored and I feel strength to hold her hand while she travels on this difficult path.
I cannot fix her soul nor can I fix her trial, but I can walk through fire with her as one who has been through fire . . . this particular fire.
I will pray that her outcome will be as good as mine. I want to tell her that eventually relief will come and all pieces of her wrecked life will be neatly placed back into their appointed grooves. I want that for her, but I have learned that it might not be so. There are times when life's puzzles are completed with pieces missing.
This is her story. It will be her testimony. God will use different means to bring different ends. Someday she will tell how she survived . . . she will be able to explain what it was like to be carried as one who has been in His arms.
Earthly companions often fail us in these times. They run out of words that comfort. I might run out of words,my shoulder might grow weary. As long as there is grace I want to be there for her.
I am praying that a season of rejoicing will come. That she will experience the kind of joy you have when the prodigal comes home, the healthy baby is born, or someone is healed of deadly disease.
"Lord, let her life be heading for happy times."
My pastor made a statement on Sunday that continues to echo in my mind. "Jesus did not come so that we would not have to suffer, He came to save our souls."
I have felt the agony of suffering . . . I realize there are degrees . . . I know that mine has been minimal compared to others. When you are in your valley it doesn't seem so . . . it doesn't seem possible that anyone could hurt more than you are hurting, but there is always a deeper level of suffering happening somewhere in the world. In times of suffering it is difficult to see beyond your own world. There is no other world . . . at least for awhile. Who has strength for it? The Lord knows this.
The Lord has done great things for me. He has rescued me from the trial my new friend is experiencing . . . "Thank you, God!!!" It wasn't instant relief . . . it came with time . . . but respite from storm finally settled in.
I will tell my new friend that the Lord did not instantly deliver me out of my experience of pain, but He was faithful and always with me. I will try to be that for her, but I will also make sure she knows that I will not be able to carry her . . . He is the one who carries.He is the only one who can.
"He will lead His flock like a shepherd, He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young." Isaiah 40:11