Home is not always a cozy apartment or house filled with furniture and laughter. For others who are not so fortunate, home is the six feet of space where their shadows fall. A lot of people are dealing with mental, physical, and emotional turmoils. It is hard and lonely out there, and a lot of people need our help and prayers.
I recently visited the hospital for a checkup. Before I could be seen by a doctor, a nurse had to pre-examine me and check my vitals. She also had to ask me a couple of generic questions like:
- Do you smoke?
- Do you drink?
- Are you sexually active?
- Are you depressed?
- Are you feeling suicidal?
The suicide and depression questions both bothered me. Maybe because as a school counselor, I’m not used to being on the receiving end. While I sat in the waiting room, I began to listen to Pastor Steven Furtick’s sermon titled “Lonely Places.” As I listened, I examined my life. I took it apart piece by piece, knowing I may not be able to put it back the way it was. I was called into the ER for an examination but there were no rooms available so I had to wait in the hallway. In the room in front of me, a woman was crying uncontrollably. She was in a kind of pain I would never be able to accurately describe. It made me wonder what her responses were to the same questions the nurse asked me.
Pastor Steven Furtick explained that back in the biblical days, lepers were not supposed to be found among healthy people. They were not supposed to be seen in public because it was an abomination. It’s safe to say that lepers were lonely. But in Matthew 8, Jesus desired to heal the leper. He did not mind being unclean or being seen with a sick man. After Jesus healed him, he told him to only show himself to the priest. The leper did the opposite and told everyone he could find that Jesus healed him. Jesus on hearing this had to go into hiding because what He did was frowned upon. Jesus, a man who was once free chose to become lonely for a lonely man to become free.
It made me think about the woman crying in the room in front of me, lonely in her pain. Confined to a sickbed, unable to fully participate in life. I was not sure how she looked, but I knew her pain before I could ever get the chance to know her name. For me, she’ll always be the woman crying in a hospital room. And just like me, most of us forget that people who are ill are not a compilation of symptoms. They are human beings with feelings, hobbies, and desires. The cancer patient has a name. The suicidal person is someone’s sister and brother. I learned an important lesson that day. I was not suicidal or lonely in my pain, but a lot of people may be feeling the exact opposite.
In the end, I did what Jesus would do. I desired to see healing in her life so I prayed for her. My faith was strong enough to reach her, but I hoped hers was strong enough to receive. Jesus is still in the business of trading his freedom for our lonely. This year, be your brother’s keeper. In your spare time, think about others and the storms they are passing through. When you do, pray for them. It counts, it helps, and it goes a long way.
Listen to the message here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHqEIOr290I
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