...is when the tunes playing inside my head,
turn out to be the LORD trying to tell me something...
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
~~~ the following was originally posted at my previous blog, the infrequent blogger, on monday, 13 sept 04 ~~~
I really needed some compassion yesterday. Deeply badly achingly needed it. What I got instead, though…
I was hurting. Why does not matter; this is not intended to be a personal diary, after all. Just - I was hurting very deeply; my heart was empty and breaking.
The night before, Saturday night, I had gone outside and yelled at GOD for quite some time (well, whispered yelling, if you can picture such a thing - intensity rather than volume). I had had it; I was fed up; what I was seeing was not what HE had promised me. I was at the end of my rope, and I wanted out!
And when I was all yelled out and sat down, HE reminded me gently that it was a package deal - out was out - either stick with HIM and see things through, or…
I didn’t want the or. But I was still hurting. Aching, aching.
And then it was Sunday morning. So I got the kids ready and we went to church. But once we actually got inside the building, I started crying and crying. I wanted/needed some privacy, so I went into a back room by myself.
There my best friend found me. She sat with me, heard me out, started to comfort me. But then she said something that made me livid. I know she did not mean for it to come across this way - often what one person says and what the other person hears are not quite the same thing - but what I heard her saying was that my troubles were because I was sliding back from GOD. Accusing me. Judging me.
I blew up at her. Stormed out of the church building and away down the sidewalk. Angry, angry, angry! All the things I’d been yelling at GOD the night before came roaring back up again on the inside.
I went around to the shady side of the church building and sat down, leaning my back against the building. Praying, hurting. “LORD, sent me someone to comfort me who won’t judge me. Someone who won’t try to make me come into the building (as if getting the hurting inside a building is the goal - as if setting foot in the building will magically make the hurting go away). Someone who won’t just talk, talk, talk at me. No, what I want, LORD, is someone who will just sit here with me in silence - just wrap an arm around my shoulder and let me cry . Someone who will just love me with YOUR heart.”
I heard a motorcycle drive up to the building and park. Moments later, a young man I vaguely remember seeing at the church came over. He introduced himself, asked me some questions. I poured out the story of my anguish.
Did he sit down by me? No. Did he wrap an arm round me? No. Did he keep silence, as I had prayed for? Oh, no!
Did he judge me? You betcha! Started in about walking in victory, blah, blah, blah. Pity party, blah, blah, blah. He was just filling the empty air with words, words, words.
And I sat there, thinking about Job. And how when his three friends came to comfort him, they first sat by him in silence for a solid week. And that had been their wisdom. It was when they opened their mouths to speak, that was when the trouble began.
The young man offered to go inside and get someone else. Fine. So he did. He brought out a lady who is very sweet and dear to me, who is like a grandma to my kids.
Did she sit by me? Yes. Did she put her arm around me? Yes. Did she keep silence?
No. Did she ask what was wrong? No. She began to talk.
And all the things she was saying were true things. But they didn’t apply to my situation. And, frankly, they came across as more accusation - you aren’t close to GOD anymore! More judging me.
Then my friend, the one I had blown up at, came outside and found us. She apologized, bless her heart.
Finally, they all left me alone again. Alone felt better. I sat there for a while, thinking over what had happened, analyzing it, praying about it.
Gaining a heart of compassion.
You see, for some time now, I have been visiting a Christian chatroom online. And I have seen people come into the chatroom who are hurting, asking for help, for compassion. And I have seen them be helped.
But I have also seen people come into the chatroom, asking for help, for compassion, for comfort - and seen them be judged: “You’re just looking for attention! You’re just having a pity party! Are you a Christian?”
And having now been on the receiving end of such compassion - may I see more clearly how to comfort others who are hurting! It’s not that my comforters didn’t mean well for me. They did. I know they meant well with their words, especially those who have known me for so long.
But it all came across as just words, words, words, filling the empty air. Band-aids being stuck on a heart attack.
After a bit, I needed to visit the bathroom, so I went inside. Came back out into the lobby and stood there, not sure what to do next. Go in and hear the last of the sermon? Or what?
And here came my friend, looking for me. She had brought me a cup of water. A small thing, I know. But so thoughtful!
I went inside then. The sermon was nearly over. And when it was over, as we stood to our feet praying, as I was praying privately…HE came to me, the LORD Jesus did, and filled my heart with joy. So I am much better now, tremendously better.
But I hope I never forget the lesson from this, on how to show compassion - and how not to.
And it occurs to me that about three weeks ago, a friend quoted a Bible verse to me over the phone. Later that night, another friend online gave me the same verse. And the next evening at church, Pastor finished his sermon by quoting that same verse.
And the verse?
2 Cor 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
~~~ mental radio ~ contents copyright © 2004 ~ sheya joie yonathi ~~~