I have suffered from time to time during the course of my life. In that suffering I have become more attuned to others who are hurting. While I still have much room for growth in this area, my intercessory prayer has certainly changed during the course of my adult life as I have walked the journey of suffering with others. I have witnessed God's movement in my own life and in the lives of others during times of crisis and suffering. We are never alone.
How have you suffered? What insights have you gained in these sufferings? How can you take what you have learned from these experiences and bring healing and hope to others? Obviously, if we have suffered in a particular way, it will give us a first-hand glimpse into what someone else may be feeling if they are suffering from the same malady. However, we can also understand other circumstances of suffering even if we have not had first-hand experience. Empathy is not confined in such a manner.
Whatever your story, you have been empowered to bring hope to others. Be aware of others around you and the story they have to share. Where do you fit into the picture?
The families devastated by the shooting in Las Vegas need care, love, and support. If you know any of the victims, how will you reach out? Even if you don't know any of the victims, are there any ways you can reach out?
People still reeling from the hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, or other natural disasters need material and emotional support as well. How can you help?
Families dealing with the loss of a job and income are crushed. It is a financial hit and an emotional hit as well. Have you ever wondered how all the bills were going to get paid in any given month? How can you reach out to the unemployed and hurting?
Do you know anyone struggling with an addiction?
Do you know of a young couple desiring to have a child but cannot conceive?
Do you know of any young couples grieving over a miscarriage?
Do you know anyone grieving the loss of a loved one?
Do you know anyone battling a major illness? Have you reached out to family members as they strive to cope?
Do you know of people suffering from broken marriages and the ripple effect of other relationships changed because of that break-up?
Do you know any single parents struggling to survive?
Do you know of any moms contemplating an abortion because they feel like they simply cannot cope with another little one to care for each day?
Do you know any elderly people devastated by loneliness? Do you know any who are contemplating the utilization physician-assisted suicide because he/she feels like a burden to caregivers?
The list could go on and on, but I hope you get the point. There are many hurting people in our society. We are each presented with opportunities to be ambassadors of Christ in a variety of circumstances. Do we greet these opportunities with zeal, energy, and joy? What words of compassion can you offer? How can you patiently listen to their story? What tangible things can you do from a materialistic perspective?
You and I are the Church. How will we bring the transforming love of Christ to others?