Conversations

Who Are You?

Sitting here in mud and filth, bloodied and bruised. All these people walking by. Do they see me? Do they see me broken and blood-stained? Does anyone see the pain and mess I’m in?

 

I see a doctor headed my direction; maybe he will see me and stop to help. … As he passes me by he lifts his phone up to his ear and moves to the other side of the street. …

 

A familiar face from the church in town is headed my direction. She is always doing good things for people: feeding the homeless, going on missions trips to foreign countries, attending prayer groups and Bible studies. She is well known for helping people. Surely she will see me and at least help me get up out of this mud!

“Are you ok? You really shouldn’t sit in such a muddy mess.” she says. 

I wonder why she is asking. Do I look like I might be ok? Before I can answer, she starts praying for me as if she figured out what I needed help with. 

“Amen.” she finishes praying and gives one last heartfelt comment while she walks away “I’ll be praying for you!” 

 

How can all these people just keep passing me by without helping? 

Maybe they see but don’t understand?

Perhaps they think it’s none of their business?

I suppose it’s possible they are afraid.

Maybe they don’t know what to do or say.

 

Wait. I know this person coming my direction. I see him every day. We aren’t close friends, but maybe he will recognize me. Almost as if embarrassed to know me, he cautiously approaches, looking around to check if anyone notices him coming toward me.

“What did you do to get yourself in this situation?” he says with a look of disapproval. “You probably could have avoided this. Maybe you should get yourself up out of that mud and cleaned up.”

Unbelievable. Even he seems to be heartless and blind to my helpless situation. 

 

Tears overflow and roll heavy down my face. I was trying to hold things together and be strong, but this almost hurts more than these bruises and gaping wounds. I try to get up. I don’t want to sit here anymore. I’m determined to get out of this mess on my own, but as I try to lift myself to my feet, my legs give way and I fall hard, back into the sloshing muck. My hands are too muddy now to even wipe the mud and tears from my eyes. I’m overwhelmed and wonder if its even worth it to try getting up any more. 

Looking around for something to lean up against and keep my head out of the muddy water, I think I see someone approaching. There is something different about him. He doesn’t act like all the others like I have a contagious disease. He carries himself confidently as he approaches me. He walks right up to me and kneels beside me in the mud! He lifts my good arm over his shoulder to start helping me up and says to me

 

“I’m here to help you. The Father sent me. He knew that you were in trouble and needed help so He asked me to come. I’m sorry this happened and that you are hurting. I’ll get you patched up and in a safe, comfortable place to sleep with good food. I will help you get back on your feet.”

Fresh tears, now of relief, flood my eyes.

I am so overwhelmed at this kindness. I thought surely no one would even help me get to my feet, but here this man is getting dirty to help me and what’s more, offering to pay for a night at a hotel!

“The Father knows about all His children. He sees every moment. His heart broke when He saw what happened to you. He wept for you as each person He sent to help you did nothing. He was in tears when I left to come find you. He told me that He had to send me because I know first-hand what you’re going through. So I came straight away.”

He lifts me almost effortlessly up out of the mud. Blood and filth are now soaking into his clothes and shoes. I hold on with my better arm as he carries me to the closest hotel. This kind and caring person checks me over for broken bones finding only a dislocated shoulder, sprained wrist, and some serious cuts and bruises. He tends to my less serious injuries and calls a doctor to come take care of the others. Generously, he pays for room and board until I’m restored to health. 

I am overwhelmed with gratitude and amazed how The Father sent such a kind and compassionate person to help me. He was familiar with my suffering. He was an image of The Father to me. He was my reminder that The Father knew my condition and as always, was still here, still taking care of me. I didn’t see The Father face-to-face this time, but I saw His reflection and recognized His love for me in the one He sent.

Conversations

Ouch!

I fell down and skinned my knee.
Sitting here in the dirt, crying, and bleeding.
It looks like just a small scrape. I didn’t break anything. I’m not in the hospital. Nothing fell off. I’m not dying.
So why does this hurt so much?

The Father kneels down to my level to examine the damage. He takes my bruised and bleeding knee in His hands while He speaks gently, with sympathy for my pain.

“It hurts, Daddy. It hurts a lot!”

“I know precious one. I’m here. I will help it heal. I will make it better.”

“I don’t want it to hurt more. This hurts so much. Can’t you just heal it with a wave of your hand and the command of your voice? Like you did when there Jairus’ daughter was raised back to life? Or when the Israelites needed to cross the Red Sea and you parted the waters? Or like the time you healed that guard’s ear after Peter cut it off? Can’t you just heal like that?”

With tears still flowing freely, I search the Father’s face for agreement with my plan for a miracle. Looking up at me, I see tears rolling down His cheeks as well.

“My precious daughter, I am weeping with you. I am hurting with you. I know this does not feel good and that you are worried about experiencing any more pain. My heart breaks for you because I don’t want you to be in pain at all but there may be a little more still as I clean this wound. It is necessary for proper healing. But I am here. I am with you. Hold tight to me. I promise I will be gentle as I clean this wound. I will pour my grace on it as a balm. I will bandage it up so you can heal. Even through all of this, I Am with you always. I Am right here. Hold on to my hand; squeeze it tight; cry. I know what is best for you, even when it hurts. You will see. In the end, it will be better than before.”  

When I was a child and had a scrape or a splinter, I didn’t want my mom or dad to use rubbing alcohol or even touch the site of my injury because I was afraid that it would hurt worse. But if they just left it alone, and didn’t clean it out it would have become infected and that certainly would have been worse. As good parents, they knew that the wound had to be cleaned and bandaged for the best outcome. So they would clean my wounds. Sometimes it would take both of them – one to calm me and one to do the work. When it was all over, I started feeling better. The only evidence of the pain before was a slowly scabbing wound. The Father does the same with the wounds no one can see…His healing work has only just begun.

Conversations

What do I do with this hurt?

For Christmas one year, when we were dating, my then-future husband gave me a beautiful, blue topaz cross necklace. It was the envy of just about everyone who saw it. I wore it every day. It was priceless. It was beautiful to look at and was a frequent reminder of the love of God and the affection of the man who is now my husband.

A few years ago, I lost the ability to wear that one-of-a-kind necklace. Our dog at the time was a puppy and liked shiny gold things for some reason. I walk into our bedroom one day to find her chewing on something – it was my necklace! She had taken it off of my dresser and now it was a mangled up mess in her mouth. The topaz gems were scattered around, some I never found because she’d swallowed them. I was heartbroken! This was not just any necklace. It was specially made and specially gifted by my husband before we were even engaged. I had planned on passing it down to my grandchildren. I wore it every day and now this “crazy” puppy had ruined it completely! It may seem silly to cry over a material possession, but I did. It was broken beyond repair. The gems were gone. It would never be whole again.

To this day, I still don’t have a suitable replacement for that necklace. I’ve tried several other cross necklaces I already owned, but none of them were from my sweet husband and none were made so well and beautifully like the original.

There have been times that my life has felt a little like that chewed up necklace. Beautiful friendships and blessed relationships that have created hurt or become mangled, leaving my heart broken. The hurt hasn’t always been something I’ve had control over, like death of a loved one. Some hurts I have contributed to, and knowing that I’ve hurt someone else because of my pain has made it hurt worse. Some things I’ve shared with others, in the hope that they could help me heal, but just like those replacement necklaces, nothing was suitable. Many times, no one has been aware of my hurt…except The Father. He is the only one with full knowledge about all of my pain.

 

On one recent occasion when my heart felt shattered, I looked up from where I sat, tear-soaked face, feeling on the edge of hope, searching for answers from The Father.

“What do I do with this hurt, Papa God? The pieces of my heart are scattered all over the place. How can I get past this. I can’t fix it, Papa God.”

Every part of my body felt heavy. I picked up two of the broken-heart pieces. They felt like lead weights. My tears flowed like an endless fountain emptying into a bottomless bucket. Through blurred eyesight, I looked for The Father’s face again.

 

The Father sat down next to me on the floor. Putting His arm around me, He comforted me. He didn’t tell me everything was going to be alright. He just sat there with me. He let me mourn the hurt. His presence and the embrace of His strong arms quieted my weeping and slowed my tears.

He whispered,

I know it hurts. I’m right here. You’re not alone, little one. I’m holding you and won’t let go. Sit here in my lap, my precious one. I’ve got you.

As my tears finally ended and my breathing slowed to a normal rhythm, I looked around at the mess. I looked at the broken-heart pieces I was still holding. Then I looked at The Father’s face. It was wet with tears of His own.

Opening His hands and motioning for the pieces I still held of my shredded heart, He said

Give it to me, little one. Give me your hurt. Give me the pieces. I will make it better than before. It won’t be the same, but I will make it more beautiful. I will mend it. I will heal it. I will restore it to the greatness you cannot yet see.

 

…He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
~Isaiah 61:1-3

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
~Psalm 34:18

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
~Psalm 147:3

Conversations

Lost…

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
– Psalm 139:9-12

I’m sitting on the ground. Alone. Weeping. Exhausted. I don’t know where I am. I don’t know how to get there from here. I’m overwhelmed. I’m tormented by worry overtaking my thoughts.

I feel lost and worse, discouraged.

The map lies smudged and tattered on the ground. I thought I’d taken the right trail to get to where The Father was taking me. So why do I feel so lost and uncertain? Have I been walking in circles? Did I miss interpret the directions? I need help. I need a guide.

The Father kneels down to the ground, laying His hand on my shoulder His gentle voice speaking into my darkness “What’s wrong, dear one? Did you forget I Am here?”

He picks up the map from the ground and begins to gently fold it. He doesn’t need the map. The map is for me. I wanted to know where I was going. I wanted to figure it out on my own…or at least I thought I could follow it. After all, He’d told me where He wanted me to go. Isn’t some part of this journey my responsibility? Aren’t I supposed to know how to follow His directions and not get lost?

I don’t know how to move forward. The path isn’t clear and I can’t figure this map out. I’m so confused and lost …

“I saw you focusing on the map and what I called you to. You were so busy looking at the map and figuring out the way to go, you didn’t look to see I Am right here with you. I’ve never left your side. I know the way to go, precious one. You’ve never been alone on this journey and you’re not lost because with me you are found. I know you’re scared and worried about how to get there. Let me be your Peace. Let me be your Guide. Trust me to get you there.”

Will I ever figure this out? There are so many things I don’t know! What do I need to be doing? How will I know if I’m walking the right direction and taking the right path?

Because I Am with you. Stay with me and you will always know the path. You will see great and wonderful things on our journey together if you stay with me and keep your eyes on me. I will take care of the journey and the destination. I love you and love that you want to get there. We will get there, dear one. Have peace. Be patient. I have so much more for you on this journey than just the destination.”

The Father hands the folded map to me to hold and gently gathers me in His arms, lifts me to His back, and starts walking.

Rest on me, little one. I’ll carry you a little while and when you’ve rested and you’re ready again to walk, I’ll lead you. But for now, just rest. We’ll get there right on time.”

I know I can trust The Father. He is the one who knows the way. He’s never lost. It seems like He’s come this way lots of times before…or maybe that He’s made this way. He made the destination, He knows how to get there and He’s taking me there with Him.

Father, thank you for lifting me out of discouragement and setting me back on the path with you. Thank you for calling me and taking me with you. May I know how to trust you with the next step. May I seek your lead with every step along this journey so that I don’t miss your wonder. May I learn to look for you, see what you see, and take from your strength what I need for this journey.