Let’s start with something you already know. I’m selfish. I live with a me-first kind of attitude a lot of the time. It’s not something I try and maintain, and sometimes I do quite a good job of shelving my own needs, but when the chips are down, I fall into ‘survival mode’ and the world either revolves around me or falls by the wayside. That being said, this selfishness doesn’t make me weird. Actually, I think it makes me quite a bit like the rest of you.
However, there are some pretty great people that are able to put themselves aside while standing in the midst of hell fire. I am fortunate to have one such friend, who will remain nameless. No one wants to be implicated in my blog, I’m sure.
This particular friend has had his path scattered with brimstone, so I gave him a call. By no means do I pretend to have all the answers, but I hoped that I may be able to encourage him. I would like to think that I was somewhat successful, but before I hung up the phone, he says to me (in so many words) that he can see right through me. Since the loss of my dad, I’ve changed. I’ve allowed anger to take root, grown bitter, and turned a cold shoulder toward God. I thought he was being a bit harsh, but as we talked, it became clear that he was right and I was self-deceived, which is not a good place to be. He advised me to grab on to one promise from God’s word and to just let my heart marinate in it until I believed it. The words were clear: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” We talked a few minutes more, and then he prayed with me and ended our conversation.
This guy exemplified Christ. He has every right to gripe, complain, wallow in misery, and generally just be a miserable sort of a guy. That’s how normal people react. That’s how I have reacted on several occasions. I have learned, of course, that this sort of negative behavior fixes nothing, does not help, and generally is successful only at pushing people away, and those things are not healthy.
The world would be a better place if more people would shut up about their own problems and help somebody. But I’m probably not going to convince you of this. All I can do is shut up.
The following hymn was something that I went looking for about this post was birthed. This is not random, but rather an intentional attempt to find something to fit exactly what I was going through and dealing with. It was written by Rufus H. McDaniel in 1920, and it really just nails it. So let’s get on with it.
When the lights go out,
When death trumps your life,
When the shadows overtake you,
When you find yourself in the jaws of despair,
God will never leave you.
Christ will never forsake you.
The Holy Spirit will not leave you comfortless.
You are safe and secure in the storm.
There are others in the throes of death,
Many who languish without hope.
They are alone. They are crying.
They are lost. They are dying.
You can reach them best when you are close.
Just as we yield to a suffering Savior,
So do others find solace in our pain.
Misery loves company, and company brings hope.
Carry the torch to those who have no light.
You won’t have to go far.