I have found that when those I lead and love are hurting, I hurt as well. I hurt for them, and I hurt with them. Whatever the reason for the hurt I often find myself identifying with their burden and in a real sense carrying the burden myself. I do not want to take credit for this but I want to give God the credit for His work in me producing this response. I think it has to do with LOVE and God's love bears the burdens of others.
During those times we are hurting with others, how do we, find God's grace for our own hurt and how do we find grace to help those who are hurting? In other words, HOW CAN WE HELP OTHERS WHO ARE HURTING WHEN WE HURT? Especially as spiritual leaders, partners in ministry, parents, friends of a life time. Well. first of all we mast find grace for our own selves and then find practical ways to give that grace to others.
Following are some suggested thoughts as to where we find help when we are hurting because others are hurting and then how to help those who are hurting!
I. TRUST IN THE LORD WHEN YOU ARE HURTING!
Trust in the Lord with all thy heart..... - Proverbs 3:5
I cannot lead if I am floundering in a perplexed confusion. Yes, we are human, even leaders. And because we are human we will struggle in our and others hurts. Yet we must find God's strength and anchor our trust in Him alone. We must in our own walk find God's amazing grace and strength in our hurt so we may lead others to seek and find that same strength as they trust in the Lord!
II. CAST YOUR CARE UPON THE LORD WHEN YOU HURT!
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.—1 Peter 5:7
Before you counsel or seek to encourage others, try to get alone with the Lord to cast your care upon Him. Spend some time casting your cares upon Him and allowing Him to lift your burdens somewhat with His presence and provision of faith. As you allow the Lord to bear your burden you are gaining strength to bear the burden of the one who is hurting. If you want to be a burden bearer, not a burden giver you must cast your burden on the Lord first! Then graciously, humbly and patiently lead them to do the same.
III. SPEND TIME ALONE WITH THE LORD WHEN YOU HURT!
And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.—1 Kings 19:12
Grief has a way of quieting our hearts so we can hear the still, small voice of the Lord. When you are hurting and one you love is hurting make sure to spend a little time alone with the Lord. Well maybe spend a lot of time! Listen to Him in the Bible and on your knees. Ask Him to direct you at this time and to help you speak godly direction into your hurting friend.
IV. SEEK THE HEART OF THE LORD WHEN YOU ARE HURTING!
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.—Proverbs 4:23
Draw near to God with a sincere heart. - Hebrews 10:22
The most dangerous time you may ever experience and are especially vulnerable to Satan’s deception it is when you are hurting and bearing the hurts of others. Be careful to see that your heart does not become bitter or disappointed in what the Lord is allowing. God is good and He is good all the time. Reflect on the eternal side of things. God has good purpose and plans for His own. Watch your heart because you will never be able to help another without the heart of God.
V. YIELD YOUR TONGUE TO THE LORD WHEN YOU ARE HURTING!
A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.—Proverbs 29:11
Be slow to speak. - James 1:19
Remember Job's friends who thought they were helping him. If they really wanted to help perhaps they should have spoke less and when they did they should have spoken truth with grace. When we are hurting we need to listen to God who will always speak with truth and grace. God is a refuge where hurting people can hear His helpful and hopeful words. When we hurt may we run to Him and listen to His words and then may we run to those who are hurting and speak in such a way. Far to often when we hurt we speak to ourselves in ungracious and untruthful ways. And when others are hurting we find ourselves speaking before we have considered those words and they only hurt the hurting more. When others are hurting fewer words may be necessary. Certainly gossip, criticism, sharing to many details are not in order. In general when people are hurting speak less but when you do speak make it profound.
VI. GIVE YOUR EFFORT TO THE LORD WHEN YOU ARE HURTING!
But through love serve each other. - Galatians 5:13
When you are hurting because others are hurting do something to help them. In so doing you will find help for your own hurt. Helping hurt people can help hurt people overcome hurt. Don’t avoid those who are hurting, and don’t assume everyone else is serving them as they are hurting. Yes, allow them space in their hurt. Give them personal time to be alone or with their closest family to sift things out. No, don't smother them as they are dealing with their hurt. But, do what you can to help. A phone call, stop in and make a short visit just to tell them you love them and are praying for them. Send a note, make a gentile and caring contact with your eye. Take a meal, send a gift card. There are hundreds if not thousands of ways to carry out a need meeting expression.
When we deal with adversity, each of us are prone to think wrong about the difficulties. If we think wrong we are more apt to believe that we are the only one who has these things that happen in life. Thinking like that will lead us to Self Pity , and bitterness toward God. The reality is that everyone has adversity at various times in life. No one is exempt! Everyone deals with problems and troubles, and at those times all of us tend to think our problems are bigger than the problems of others. If we continue to think like that we will become OVERWHELMED, and the enemy will lie to us and lead us to believe we can never overcome the adversity. But the great truth of God's Word is we can in times of Overwhelming move forward to Overcome.
The Bible is filled with stories of who faced lots of adversity and yet became faithful Overcomer's. I have witnessed hundreds and hundreds of Christian's in my life time who have done the same. Men, women, teens, even children who faced their trouble with God and His Word and instead of being destroyed by their difficulties were actually molded by them allowing them to fulfill God's great purposes in their lives.
Let me share a few thoughts for each of us to consider as we face these times in our life. Hopefully these will encourage us to use these times to develop instead of being distressed and destroyed.
I. THERE IS HOPE IN OUR ADVERSITIES -- God has a purpose for everything that touches the life of His believing followers. It is imperative that we don’t waste something God has planned to strengthen and mature us. For the genuine re-birthed Christian, God has a purpose for everything that comes into our life, YES EVERYTHING! . Romans 8:28–29 speaks of this very clearly. Take a look at the entire chapter 8 in Romans and remind yourself of this monumental truth for believers. Remember that the promise is not that everything will good but that God will work it out in time for His good. As we think on that may we build the habit into our lives to trust God to work things out and as He does to desire and to look for that purpose. With that thought in mind, we need to ask God to show us that purpose and ask for the Lord's faith to trust Him until He does so, no matter how long that may be.
II. THERE IS HELP IN OUR ADVERSITIES-- God has a power to aid us in these trying times. His grace is sufficient and His almighty power is available when we face such temptations. Remember the words of 1st Corinthians 10:13, read them, rehearse them, trust them!
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."—1 Corinthians 10:13
III. THERE IS HOLINESS IN OUR ADVERSITIES -- This is our greatest answer and aid in these difficult times. SEEK GOD in those times. He is the ONE who can bring comfort, answers, direction, peace, courage, faith and stability all by just being with us in a manifested way. Seek His fellowship. Run to Him. Draw nigh to the One who can drive all fear away by just being with us! Turn to God in your problems. Turn to God in your adversity. Turn to God in your difficulties. Don't turn to any other personality, principle or problem solver. Turn to Him. He hasn't forsaken you. He hasn't forgotten you. He hasn't been failed you! Turn to Him in your intense struggle! The scripture is full of illustrations where God's people came to Him sharing their problems and after a while they were praising God for His person, power, and perfection. We are able to see our problems shrink as they find themselves in the presence of Jesus! God will give HOPE and HELP by giving HIS HOLY PRESENCE. The problems may not be removed immediately but in His presence grace and strength will be added to deal with them.
Choose to face the life by choosing to stay in the presence of God Himself.
The Apostle Paul was used of the Holy Spirit to write, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.”(II Tim. 2:15) I believe that a faithful pastor must with great passion seek to understand the Word of God! The call to preach is a call to study, understand, and ex positionally teach what they have learned from God’s Holy Word! This cannot be done correctly without hours and hours of weekly study. Paul also said to Timothy, “Give attention to reading.” I know he was speaking of the public reading of the Word there but certainly Paul was tying together public reading after personal reading of that divine Word! While in prison Paul asked young Timothy to bring his scrolls and parchments. A careful study reveals that he is asking for some copies of the Old Testament and some books or notes that he has need of. What is interesting is Paul goes on to says " whatever yo do don't forget to bring the parchments." This is not because Paul did not have a television, gym, games or something else to help him with his boredom. Not at all, it was because he wanted to study more about God for his own good and to share what he learned with others.
I am sure that nearly every pastor has a TV set, and would not think in these days of being without a car, a cell phone, laptop or Ipad but what about his Bible and his books? In my early years as a pastor my mentor Pastor Ralph Rickner taught me the importance of reading and in building a personal library. He taught me the importance of reading the right authors and to have the proper resources to study. Times have changed and now we can read books and commentaries online , watch videos, listen to teaching, countless new methods of learning. All these new ways help us to cut down the time and effort it takes to find what we are looking for. But still we need to read and study! It is imperative for a pastor to stay informed and on the leading edge of things. So we need to listen, watch and read consistently.
But may I also encourage EVERY BELIEVER to do the same. Turn the television off and read your Bible daily. Schedule time to read several books a month. Find some good christian blogs and systematically read them daily or weekly. Turn off the music for awhile and read. Lay a good book by your bed and read a few minutes before you go to sleep, ( may I encourage you to read something before bedtime that will relax you not stir you up). Take a book with you to work and when you have a break time or lunch time read as you eat. Find some good magazines, periodicals, short article reading that would be helpful in your growth as a Christian. Read specifically on practical things of life, ( parenting, finances, health, etc.).
Below are some books through the years that have helped me tremendously, in important areas of life.
1. Whose Money is It Anyway! John McArthur ( Finances and Stewardship)
2. Things To Come! J. Dwight Pentecost ( Bible Prophecy & the Future)
3. Revival Lectures! Charles G. Finney ( Personal Revival)
4. The Power of Pentecost, The Golden Path to Successful Personal Soulwinning, Prayer- Asking and Receiving and The Home! Books by John R. Rice all published by Sword of the Lord Publishers.
5. The Fulfilled Family! John McArthur ( The Family God's Way)
6. A Man Called Peter! Catherine Marshall ( What Life is Really All About)
7. The Greatest Fight in The World! Charles Spurgeon ( Our Spiritual Battle) Really anything by Spurgeon.
8. Life on the Highest Plane! Ruth Paxson ( Progression of the Spiritual Life) - A must read.
9. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit! R. A. Torrey ( The Holy Spirit's Work in Us)
10. Books on Prayer! E.M. Bounds ( Dozens of books on Prayer Life)
Why not purchase a book for yourself and begin a good personal discipline of reading. Perhaps you would want to encourage another to read by buying the same book for them and saying lets read this together and discuss it as we read it. Our " Lighthouse Bookstore" is open before and after services where you can go and order a book of your choice
FEAR NOT! That instruction is given more than any other in the Scripture. I have to assume that it is because God who is all knowing and knew that fear would be a great obstacle everyone would face in life. Especially His children who He would give BIG vision and BIG assignments coupled with many adversaries and difficulties , ( 1st Corinthians 16:9). We don't like to admit to it but fear influences much of our lives and many of our decisions.
I am sure that each reader is facing decisions and things that , if you would admit it, are very scary to you. What if I make the wrong decision, the wrong choice, the wrong commitment? What if the circumstances were to change after I make this decision? What will people think and how will they react to my choice? Will they still respect me? Will they still accept me? Will I be able to go back if it was the wrong choice or will I be stuck and unable to return? How will this affect my family, friends, church? Bigger yet how will this affect eternity?
We can each learn how to step up to and handle fear but we will never totally eliminate it in this life, but we can with God's help combat and counter it with His Word. We can fill our minds with God's Bible and learn to speak it to ourselves when fear enters our lives. We can act on the principles of God's truths and find faith for fear. Jesus teaches us in the New Testament that the way to secure living as opposed to unstable living is to take His Word for it and don't be afraid.
We can find BIG FAITH for the BIG VISION and BIG ASSIGNMENTS our BIG GOD gives us on a daily basis.
Terry has been the Senior Pastor of Liberty for 30 years. He and his wife, Karen, have 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 1 spoiled dog named Cooper.