I have been sick and tired. Literally. For exactly two weeks as of today. I’m familiar with respiratory ailments like bronchitis and I’ve even had pneumonia a couple times in the past but nothing has ever leveled me like what turned out to be Influenza A. I’ve always wondered why people die from the flu. Now I know.
First, my normally energetic body refused to go anywhere except straight to bed where it laid flat for four days straight, except to go to the bathroom. I ached. I could feel every joint. I thought of my Jesus—hanging—gravity pulling apart every joint and thanked Him that even in my ache, I’ve never ached like He did—like He does—for me—for us all.
And still, when I’m sick, I’m weak. Not just in body, but in soul . . .
When I wasn’t sleeping, I was slipping—slipping into a dark pit.
My mind ached worse than my body. My heart ached.
Past and current events seared my memory. The terror human beings impose on other human beings bears down on me hard.
Images of Sudanese refugee children orphaned by war, images of real refugees playing their parts in The Good Lie, a movie I had seen nights before, replayed in endless brain loops. It’s hard for me to shake off visuals.
And there was the image of the masked man, the terrorist too cowardly to reveal his face, with the torch he held to the petro trail, readying to burn alive the Jordanian man caged by his captors.
I wanted to erase my mind. But I couldn’t.
I wanted to erase all the evil. But I couldn’t.
All I could do was pray. So I did. I did what I know to do.
I can only serve God by loving and that requires praying for the suffering, the struggling, and following where Jesus leads, letting him work through everything He has given me—which is everything—my hands, my voice, my money, my mind—everything. Even when I’m sick and tired in bed.
God reminds me all this suffering is too much for me to bear. It’s not my job. That’s why Jesus came.
And yet, I do bear some of the pain. I bear it because pain is the great motivator to pray. And once we pray, we can leave the pain with Jesus. Only He can bear the sins of the world. Jesus will direct each of us to do the tangibles that are possible with Him. He puts the passion for the lost and the hurting in our hearts and says, “Go! Make disciples of all nations.” Often, we need not go far.
So that girl who stood at my kitchen island yesterday? She told me a shocking, tragic family incident that had just occurred. She said it flat with no feeling, looking me straight in the eyes, except to say that she had raged that morning and threw a chair. A nervous laugh followed her words.
I see the longing in her eyes. I see the sad and scared under her mad.
“Being angry is safer than crying, so the wounded think.”
I told her, looking straight in her eyes.
She stared at me, eyes filling a bit but refusing to spill. I think I saw her lip quiver, just for a second. I suppose she’s testing me. That’s alright. She should. Those who have been horribly hurt should not trust unless trust is earned.
I asked her if she believed in God.
She said yes, that she believes God has saved her life several times. But she doesn’t know God. She has never been to church, has never opened a Bible, doesn’t have a Bible except for some Precious Moments toddler version tucked away somewhere in her house, she thinks.
I asked her if she wants to know Jesus. And she said something that blew me away . . .
“That’s why I come here.”
So while I’m lying in my bed just one day before praying for all the atrocities half-way around the world, God is leading a young girl along our frozen front garden path and straight through our front door—way out here in the country.
Oh my God! You are the God of refugees! You are the God of orphans, even those who have parents! You are the God of the traumatized, the angry, the sad, the fearful. Those who seek you WILL find you! By your own hand you will lead them! Because You are mighty to save and want for no one to perish or stay in their invisible prisons of heartache.
I remembered God’s small, still voice when I felt so small and helpless just a day before, so sick and tired in bed.
It is here and now you are most useful to me. When you can do nothing else, you can pray.
When I can do nothing else, I can pray.
Prayer breaks through every gate of Hell.
Prayer releases the power of heaven to expand God’s kingdom on Earth.
Prayer places me in the throne room of God, appealing to the Almighty . . .
Thy kingdom come, on earth, as it is in Heaven.
Know who we are?
We are collaborators with God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, bringing Him here—with every single prayer.
O you who hear prayer,
To you all men will come.
When we were overwhelmed by sins,
You forgave our transgressions.
Blessed are those you choose
And bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
Of your holy temple.
You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness,
O God our Savior,
The hope of all the ends of the earth
And of the farthest seas . . .