31 October 2013

Cheer A Weary Traveler (A Habit for Day 31)

I know when you're in the middle of trials, you feel like you're in the middle of a dense fog.  Believe me, I know.

But as you and I draw as close to Jesus as we can--and I hope you've realized afresh with me this month that He is always closer than we thought--we cannot help but begin anew to reflect the light of His presence.

It's a light too beautiful to keep to ourselves, and it only increases as we share it.

There's a simple educational plan Jesus uses with us as He walks us through our lives' hardest times, because it's hard to know exactly how to encourage someone else.  It's one of the good things God works together from the all things (even the ones that appear to be against us).

"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."  
2 Corinthians 1:3, 4

God never intended for us to go through our trials alone.  He also never intended us to stand aside, not knowing what to do or say when we see someone hurting.  He Himself draws near during our worst moments, and once we've experienced the soothing and refreshing only He can offer, He gives us the job of imitating Him to those around us.

Don't stand by at a loss for what to do or say.

Think about what Jesus did for you during your darkest hours, and then go do that (to whatever extent a human can, anyway).  It may be in the form of an encouraging card, text, phone call, or e-mail.  Maybe cookies with a quick note are your love language.  Sometimes all a person needs to remember is that they're not alone, that the kinds of trials they face are not unique to them, that someone understands.  Draw close to the one in need, speak the promises of God, tell how you yourself have been comforted, led, and delivered.

But a word of caution?

If you're a woman, and you see a man who is not your husband or a close family member going through "tribulation"?  Let another man do the comforting.  Stay completely out of it if you can; if not, be extremely cautious.  Stay emotionally distant.  Those men are what my friends and I like to call "guy projects".  Girls will have plenty to keep them busy if they stick to "girl projects".  

I'm not saying you can never speak to or encourage someone of the opposite gender.  Just don't get yourself emotionally entangled with someone you shouldn't (especially if their "desert" involves marital issues).  

But do look for appropriate opportunities to brighten the path of another pilgrim striving for that glorious city.  It's our final goal, after all, and it's one we don't want to miss.  We all need those rays of sunshine to brighten the straight and narrow path.

On the last day of our series in the desert, let's remember to gather hope and encouragement, not only for ourselves, but also for others wandering through barrenness.

It's just one more way we can be like Jesus--the Jesus who walks with us all the way, brings us water in the wilderness, and gives us a hope and a future.

"Earthly pleasures vainly call me;
I would be like Jesus; 
Nothing worldly shall enthrall me;
I would be like Jesus.

"Be like Jesus, this my song,
in the home, and in the throng;
Be like Jesus all day long!
I would be like Jesus.

"He has broken every fetter;
I would be like Jesus;
That my soul may serve Him better;
I would be like Jesus.


"All the way from earth to glory
I would be like Jesus
Telling o'er and o'er the story
I would be like Jesus.


"That in heaven He may meet me,
I would be like Jesus;
That His words, 'Well done' may greet me,
I would be like Jesus."


(Hymn I Would Be Like Jesus found in the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, number 311.)

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