Hope for the Helpless

tunnel

Struggles and suffering are a part of life; they offer learning opportunities for both endurance and building new neural pathways for problem solving.  We now know that our brains are much more plastic, malleable, able to be molded and changed than we ever knew was possible before, even at advanced ages.  God spoke to me as I was watching a lecture about this, and he whispered, “Guess what?  Your soul responds the same way!  And I never intended that you attempt this alone!”  

When Job was inundated with unimaginably devastating tragedy, he knew God was in control, perhaps especially when the disasters presented as non sequitur {not understandable} to himself and those around him.  “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”  Job 2:10  

 Western culture has done us a disfavor by indoctrinating itself with the idea that all pain and suffering is wrong/bad/unacceptable/not the way life is supposed to be.  Pain and so-called negative emotions have lessons of endurance, warning, and education directly woven within them.  

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  James 1:4

Simultaneously, God built us for fellowship with one another, knowing from the beginning that humans need companionship and interdependence.  We cannot do this journey alone; we were not constructed that way.  A tangible example might be a coal fire.  If all the coals are together, they burn brightly, keeping one another glowing hot for a very long time.  However, if one coal is pulled out apart from the rest, it very quickly grows cold and dark.  If we do not practice the art of fellowship and “coming alongside” one another and forsaking judgment, relationships, people themselves, and churches fall apart, becoming isolated and woefully inadequate to reach the sick, the broken-hearted, the very people Jesus came to save!

“And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”  Hebrews10:24-25

“Furthermore, if two lie down tighter they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?  And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him.  A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” Ecclesiastes 4:11-12

Finally, as with building physical strength, endurance, and changing muscle tone and shape, so it is with our hearts and souls.  Consistency.  Practice, practice, practice!  Perseverance through dependence on Yahweh and the “coming alongside” of those around us produces growth, fellowship, and love.  Transformation is only possible by walking together, in Jesus.  John tells us that God is love…the very sum and substance of love, reminding us that by upholding one another in that Love, we transcend the world, becoming clear conduits for the power of redemption and reconciliation, God’s purpose from the beginning.

“We exult in hope of the glory of God.  And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”  Romans 5: 2-6

 

Denise Chambellan

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