Preparing to Walk Beside the Weak and Wounded
I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see.
I sought my God, but God eluded me.
I sought my bother and I found all three.
People in pain often live a roller-coaster existence. They may appear fine one day and be totally withdrawn the next. So walking beside a family member or friend who is weak or wounded can be a challenge.
Identifying a suffering person’s greatest needs can also seem impossible because there are so many needs – physically, emotionally and spiritually. To make things more difficult, hurting people sometimes attempt to quiet their inner turmoil by trying to distract themselves from their pain. With a seemingly impenetrable focus, they deal primarily with tasks that require little or no emotional output. They can be oblivious to other people and responsibilities. No wonder it can be difficult to know how to help!
Although it can be difficult to walk beside a hurting person, it is also a privilege. God does not want any of us to walk alone. Our presence can be God’s gift of grace and comfort to that friend or family member. But in order to be vessels of God’s grace and comfort, it is best if we cultivate and prepare the right perspective and the right heart attitude. When we do, we are better equipped to walk beside the weak and wounded and offer the hope and encouragement they so desperately need.
Be Led by the Holy Spirit
O LORD, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
Psalm 139:1-2 (NLT)
As the Psalm states, God alone knows our thoughts and hearts. So God knows best what our hurting friend needs at any given time.
Time after time during His earthly ministry, Jesus saw beyond the most obvious needs of hurting people to the most important ones. He was able to do this because He viewed people through the eyes of the Holy Spirit. As we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us and prompt us, He will faithfully reveal the deepest needs of those who hurt. The single most important expression of love and concern we can show our friend is to walk with God … to be led by His Holy Spirit. Because as Jesus expressed:
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches.
Those who remain in me, and I in them,
will produce much fruit.
For apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5 (NLT)
Be Filled with God’s Love
I Corinthians 13:8 tells us “love never fails.”
Of course the love that never fails is God’s love, not ours. Our love is too weak … too fickle. It is dependent on our moods, schedules and imperfect hearts. But God’s love is sincere, life giving and powerful. And it is there for the asking. So when we find ourselves needing to love those who are hard to love or needing to love - when we feel weak and overwhelmed – we can ask God to fill us with His love so that we have love to give.
Without God’s love, whatever we do for the weak and wounded falls short. I Corinthians 13:3 is crystal clear:
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels
but have not love
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”
Ouch! If we truly want to be God’s gift to a weak or wounded friend, we need to ask Him to fill us with His love.
Pray First – Act Second
As Jesus went about His ministry on earth His sole agenda was to do the will of God:
“I do not seek My own will,
but the will of Him who sent Me.”
John 5:30 (NASB)
Our agenda should be the same, and we can discover God’s will through prayer. Everything we do for someone who is in pain is done best when it is bathed in prayer first. Through prayer we allow God to direct our steps.
This is what the LORD says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the LORD your God,
who teaches you what is best for you,
who directs you in the way you should go.”
As we are led by the Holy Spirit – as we are filled with God’s love – and as we pray first and allow God to direct our actions, we are then prepared to walk beside the weak and wounded … one of the greatest privileges in life. Prepare to be blessed as you bless others.
God chooses carefully those who would bring
His message of hope, comfort and love to His suffering children.
If you have been chosen to be God’s hands, mouth or feet for your friend,
God will bless you richly as you let Him teach you His gentle ways
and how to walk in His strength.
Dave and Jan Dravecky
The Encouragement Bible
On the journey with you,
Dave & Jan Dravecky
Reprinted by permission of Dave and Jan Dravecky of www.endurance.org.