It is physical … I am physically sore. I hiked a bit Tuesday (Mount Pleasant in George Washington and Thomas Jefferson National Forest). My calves burn, my knee is bruised (fell on a rock), and my left ankle is sore. Yeah, I know, stop whining Todd. Alas, there is more. My lungs hurt. But that is from cleaning the church’s sheds yesterday. I starting gagging pretty bad from the nasty stuff I breathed in … pretty stank.
But I will get over these. Bruises will fade. Muscle pains will ease. And my gagging will eventually stop.
But I am still hurting.
It is emotional … last night, while in a Young Life info meeting, I received a text that a young lady died in an auto accident. I really didn’t know the young lady (in her 20s), she was a relative of one of our church family. She did attend my church years ago; but like many, her attendance waned and she didn’t attend anywhere. Life hadn’t been easy for her.
So I went to the grandmother’s house. Tried to bring a little comfort in the dark time of pain and chaos. I prayed with the grandmother, the father, and the collection of relatives gathered.
I hurt for them. I also hurt for the first responders that dealt with the accident. Many of the first responders attend my church. My heart is heavy for all they voluntarily put themselves through. The anguish, the mayhem, and even the deaths. Stress and anxiety wears on them.
But in talking with some at the grandmothers, and others via text or phone, I learned a twist to this narrative. I understand that the young lady attended our church this past weekend.
She spent her last Sunday in worship at our church. As I reflect on that, I examine the music we sang, the prayers that were lifted, and the message from the Word I shared. How welcoming were we to her? What was the atmosphere? Did we direct her, and every other person who attended, to before the throne of God? Prompting them to make sure their relationship with God was at peace, their eternity secure, and their life ready for anything that might come their way?
We often use the mentality that God never promised us another day, that someone in the room may not be here next week. But do we truly believe that?
But I am still hurting.
It is relational …One thing I did challenge the worshippers was to think of one person … one person whom God was laying on their heart … one person they need to be a peacemaker to this week. God desires, and blesses us, as we seek to be peacemakers.
Is there a person you need to seek out? A person with whom you need to restore a relationship? A person struggling and for whom you need to be the instrument of God’s peace?
I hurt because I exercised, worked, and more. I hurt because my heat is broken for families and individuals that are struggling from loss and pain. I hurt because I too have relationships I need to work on. But I worship the God who is bigger than my pains … and a God who tells me to cast my cares upon Him, for He cares for me.
He cares for you too. Do you know Him? If you don’t know Him, don’t let today go by. Reach out to someone …. today. We don’t know what tomorrow hold.