Yesterday afternoon, out of the blue, I received a text message that said, "Hey buddy, hang in there. U R almost on the last leg of UR marathon. Praying 4 U!!!! Love, U ... (the person's name.) I have to admit when I read the message, I broke into a huge smile. I smiled because I felt the fullness of care, concern, encouragement, and love sent by a friend through a text message. It was awesome. It was just what the doctor ordered.
Caring for others doesn't have to take an excessive amount of time or money. It can be expressed in the few seconds/minutes it takes to write a text message or a quick phone call. Caring doesn't have to be draining or taxing. Just letting a person know you are thinking of him or her makes a huge difference. Who doesn't want to feel loved or cared about? We all want to be thought of and loved. God made us this way.
That is why it is important to remember to reach out to people. Give them kind encouragement. Remind them of the truth about God, this world, other people and them as individuals:
* God is ... good, always good, and can never be anything but good. He can't be put in a box and He is not predictable. He is as wild as a lion, but always good. He is love. He is the perfect Father (who nurtures like a mother.) He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He wishes that none should perish, but all have eternal life. He ears the cries of His people. An abundant life is attained through a relationship with Him.
* This world ... contains good and bad; godly and evil; reverence and contempt. It has natural rhythms; and unexpected chaos. It is difficult and yet, interesting; it is rewarding and yet, discouraging. It is full of troubles and woes. It seduces us into believing that it is heavenly, yet truthfully, it is hell on earth. It is a fallen world. It can never satisfy our longings. It is not God's best for us; the best is yet to come for those who place their trust in Jesus Christ.
* Other people ... are often the sources of our greatest hurts and deepest disappointments. In turn, people are the recipients of our best behavior and our worst revenge. Sometimes, God uses specific people as instruments of divine healing. As we engage with other people, we see the Christian life modeled; we see what it can look like. Some people are bent on doing great harm against their fellowman. Others are committed to loving others so well that emotional healing emerges. These brothers and sisters in Christ are unexpected sources of comfort, kindness, and hope.
* Ourselves ... We are capable of loving well and hurting deeply. We sometimes connect with others; sometimes we cut and run. We long to be known and loved, yet, we masterfully hide from ourselves and others on an as need basis. We are inclined to live life in extremes: I'm really great or I'm awful. In truth, no one is better than another. We all fall short of the glory of God. We applaud others one minute and curse them the next. We extend helping hands and we slap people in the face. We are loved by God with an incomprehensible love. He cherishes us. It is difficult for us to wrap our minds around God's son dying in our place for our sins. Our personal wellness is correlated to our maturity in Christ.
Ponder these thoughts.
Is there someone you need to call or text right now?
Is there someone you need to thank or express gratitude?
Is there someone you need to forgive or ask for forgiveness?
Ask God to show you who you are to care for right now, this moment. If He shows you, don't think about reaching out ... pull a "Nike" and "just do it."
much love, Murphy