A Firestorm Unlike Any Other:
“When good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people it places us in great dismay. Things are often done to us that we have no control of. In these moments the tendency is to turn away from God, but in heaven’s name what are we to turn to?” (Ravi Zacharias)
There will come a time in every individual’s life where those closest to them will be in great pain and those that they love may cause others great pain. They may be suffering from painful circumstances, health problems, relationship struggles, or many other of the issues of life. The trials that we face as individuals are one thing but when someone we love dearly is suffering it is an entirely different level of tribulation.
The problem is not our own, yet we hurt for them…
The pain they suffer continues despite our efforts, and we pray fervently for them…
We cry out for them to God, yet they refuse the very prayers offered for them…
Their eyes and words cry out for help, yet many refuse any help because of pride & shame…
What then can we do?
How can we help those that we love that do not want our help?
How can we stand by and watch their life burn down all around them while the resources they so desperately need are within their very reach?
Perhaps we should ask ourselves another question. Have we ever lost our way?
As a firefighter, we are trained how to search for the lost whether in a fire or a land-search. But have we ever searched for someone who did not want to be found?
The painful reality we all must face in life is that we cannot reach down and pull another out of their problem if they will not take our hand. Someone once said, that the definition of hell is to live in the presence of love yet they refuse to recognize nor receive it.
In the midst of our trials, we are all guilty of turning our lives into prisons. We look to escape our shame in all the wrong places except in Jesus Christ. June Hunt, describes it well in how to diagnose the condition of the heart in the following eight areas:
1) Pride: “Do I focus on how much I have been wronged?”
2) Faultfinding: “Do I rehearse/relive the faults of others?” This is noticed when one individual always points out the flaws of the another and never admits ownership or fault.
3) Avoidance: “Do I avoid being around people with whom I have conflict?” This is seen when those we love constantly run away or avoid the issue.
4) Silence: “Do I refuse to share my feelings in a healthy way?” When engaged or someone tries to talk with them they shut down or change the subject.
5) Isolation: “Do I withdraw emotionally?” We see this when our loved ones become cold, calloused, and develop a hardened heart.
6) Unfaithfulness: “Do I share unnecessary information about my opposer?” We see this when our loved ones share personal information that not only shouldn’t be shared but the purpose of this sharing is to get you to side with them or affirm their decision.
7) Hopelessness: “Do I lack faith that God can work in any situation?” We see this when no matter the solution that is offered they have a problem for every suggestion.
8) Resentment: “Do I hold onto my anger until it becomes bitterness?”When we see their emotions become bitter and choose not to forgive.
Have any of us ever fallen into these traps mentioned above?
Have we felt the sheer comfort and relief when someone comes our way who comes along side and helps us bear our heavy burdens?
Have we realized that the joy in God’s eyes when a lost person is found and how we should be faithfully seeking the lost?
“And when He finds it, He joyfully puts it in own His shoulders and goes home. Then He calls his friends and neighbors & says, ‘Rejoice with Me; I have found my lost sheep.’
In the joys, trials, & conflicts of life we all have been guilty of wandering too far. We looked up and realized that we have strayed from the protection of His arm. Suddenly, in our foolish ambition we realize we are helplessly lost.
The psalmist wrote, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek out your servant.”- Psalm 119:176
Notice, in this scripture that Jesus comes looking for us and when He finds us He places us on His strong shoulders & takes us home. Then, even though it was our fault for wandering, God in his great love proclaims to everyone “Rejoice with Me, I have found my lost sheep”
Are you lost? Have you ever felt lost? Take heart and know that God is looking for you, he will find you, and carry you home.
Know that those we love so dearly; that God loves even more. When our hearts are broken for them, God’s love pours out even more. When we have given up; His love for us has only just begun. He shows us that only He can mend the broken hearted. Only He can bind up our wounded souls. And only He can save us through the gift of His son Jesus Christ. May we learn to fight for those that we love by giving the battle to the Lord and waging war in prayer.
May we pound on the gates of heaven with our cries and intercede upon their behalf with never ending petitions. May these times draw us nearer to God, deepen our relationship and dependence upon Him. “Caring for people God’s way means we are compassionate & loving to someone suffering from sorrow, pain, & tribulation” (Timothy Clinton).
May we care in a way that shows the depth of Christ’s love for them and in us,
Andy J. Starnes
Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries