Love and Lift
Updated: Apr 9, 2020
As marathon runners near the end of a race, they may begin to feel fatigued, out of breath, depleted and their bodies may feel like they're about to give out. During this time is when the people on the sidelines are very much appreciated because they cheer and encourage the runner to keep going, to push through the pain and agony to the finish line. As we approach the finish line in our race of faith, we too can begin to feel, depleted, distressed, exhausted, and feel like we are going to give out. Ever felt this way before? Like you are being pushed to your limit. Like you’re being stretched like a rubber band with no stretch left and you’re about to pop? Feelings like, “Lord how much more can I take?”
As I talk with other believers and just scroll through social- media I’m noticing that in this season many are amid various afflictions and serious testing. The battle is raging and getting more aggressive as we are on the brink of Jesus’ return. During these times of distress, anguish, and suffering we as believers must be aggressive in our spiritual walk with God and proactive in encouraging one another. Just as the marathon runner gains endurance by the crowd cheering him on, we need the encouragement of the brethren to run this race of faith.
In Greek the word “affliction” is expressed as meaning, to press or apply pressure. Friend, I am here to tell you through my own personal experience there has been a pressing taking place. I’ve fought my share of battles lately from health issues, family issues, and just battling with flesh. Like strategic consecutive blows these trials came with no pauses in between, with no time to rest and catch my breath. Though very painful, heart wrenching and agonizing, it was so necessary. God is forever faithful, and it has worked out for my good, for my growth and for His glory. In this process of God pressing out the things that were not pleasing to Him, He placed faithful friends and family to cheer me on, pray and offer wise godly counsel.
Though we are reminded in the Word to not think it strange the fiery trial which is to try us, as though some strange thing happened to us, these trials can come suddenly and can wipe us out if we are not careful. In these times we need first responders in the earth realm to help us fight the good fight of faith. Whether it is a health crisis, family issues, financial problems or loss of a loved one etc., we are encouraged in the Word to bear each other’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2) A burden is too heavy for someone to carry by themselves so they need someone to help lift.
The most effective and quickest way to help carry a burden is to pray. We are instructed in Scripture to pray in the Spirit and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (Ephesians 6:18) Prayer and making intercession is part of our spiritual armor and moves the hand of God in crisis in the spirit before we can assist in the natural.
As prayer is key being watchful is imperative as well. Be intentional to not let anyone slip under your radar. Some, and I admit I’ve been guilty of this, isolate themselves in times of trial. Time alone with God is crucial and needed for strength, direction and spiritual refreshing. But time alone to wallow and meditate on the problem instead of meditating on the promises of God is dangerous. When this happens, we must position ourselves to stand in the gap for others and pray that their strength will not fail. The prayers of the righteous are working and have great power.
After the burden is taken to God in prayer, we can offer encouragement and/or action. This requires being sensitive to the Holy Spirit and to the needs of others. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received a text or call from someone at my pin-pointed time of need. God is faithful to place you on someone’s heart to reach out to you and moreover He will place someone on your heart and prompt you to pray and/or reach out to others. This is why it is so important to be sensitive, receptive, and obedient to the Holy Spirit.
One phone call, text, or one card in the mail can make a huge difference in someone’s life or even save a life. This time of the year can be very difficult for those who have lost loved ones, those having financial problems, those who are lonely, ill etc. I encourage you to check up on those ones. Offer encouragement, prayer support, or meet a need as you are led and are able. Small acts of love go a long way and make a huge difference in someone’s life even more so when they are going through a tough time and it reflects our Father's grace, love and compassion.
We are reminded in Psalms 34:19, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of them ALL.” The affliction, the crushing is conforming us into Christ’s image. The pressing is preparing us for home and producing more oil to fill our lamps. Through it all we are not destroyed because of the finished work of Jesus.
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment worketh for us a far exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” The light affliction we may be facing may not feel light, in fact it may feel massive. The affliction most times does not feel like a moment instead it feels like forever. But with the help of one another and most importantly with the help of the Lord, the Burden Bearer, the burden is lifted and we gain strength to carry on. The light affliction is temporary and nothing compared to the eternal weight of glory that will be
revealed. Keep the faith. Take care of yourself. Take care of each other. Love. Lift.