Romans 12:15 - Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
In the distance you see someone you know coming your way.
They’ve been suffering with a disease that causes great pain for some time. In the flash of a moment, your thoughts are running quickly into your head wondering if they saw you or not. Maybe you could just turn down the next isle, and get away without them seeing you and having to talk to her.
In some ways you want to know how she’s doing, but then, what would you say? You’ve already talked to her before and stumbled through trying to find something to say when you can tell, just by looking at her, that she’s hurting.
Put yourself in their shoes. Think about how you would feel if people started avoiding you because they’re uncomfortable around you. They know, just by looking into your eyes, that you’re at a loss not knowing how you could help them.
Don’t turn away. What you don’t know is a few kind words to someone in pain can bring hope and a healing balm to the soul. Keep walking toward them. You may be the only person they see all day that wants to at least try to be there for them.
Here are some ideas on what you can say to a person who is suffering and what not to say on medium.com in their article, “Say This, Not That When Someone is Hurting,” such as don’t say, “I know what you’re going through,” because you can’t know what they’re feeling. Also, never use the words, “It could be worse.” It may be true, but it’s also thoughtless.
When you have a friend who is in pain, it can be difficult to know how to start a conversation. You may even try to avoid your friend for fear of making things worse. Reach out to your friend anyway. Just like the Bible verse above says, we are to rejoice when our friends rejoice and mourn with them when they mourn. Just being with your friend may be the greatest gift you can give them.
2 Timothy 2:20 - In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use.
Did you know that all of us are a vessel? Some vessels are made of fine gold, while others are made of clear glass. Gold is stronger than glass when a gold vessel is made, but the clear glass vessel can also become strong.
And here’s how that might happen:
At first you’re just an ordinary glass vase. It’s good to hold flowers from a garden or those sent from someone who’s in love. The recipient accepts the vase, and are proud of it, so they put it up on the mantle for all to see.
Later, they go to a store nearby and buy a different vessel. This one is round and is used to eat cereal out of in the morning. It’s made of glass, but not a particularily special glass. But it still does the job it was made to do. And, when it’s made, the glass is thicker than that of a vase, because glass bowls can sometimes find themselves knocked over onto the floor. No worries. It doesn’t break and lives to be used at breakfast another day.
That night, they open a cupboard and pull out yet another vessel. This one is a plate. Some plates in the cupboard are plain and made of simple glass, but others are delicately embossed with roses and tulips with gold paint covering its edges. The decorated plates are not always used, but brought out only for special occasions.
Then it happens – as they reach for a delicate, china plate it slips out of their hands and crashes when it hits the floor. What a loss. They sweep up the pieces and take them to the trash, because the plate isn’t good for anything. Or is it?
Do you ever feel like that shattered plate? Do you think that nothing good can possibly become of you because of the circumstances of you life?
Thoughtcatalog.com has some ideas on putting your life back together and becoming more than just an ordinary vessel, in their article, “26 Ways to Take Your Life Back When You’re Broken,” such as taking a course that teaches you something new. What we know changes the landscape of who we are. Also, learn to walk away from situations that are holding you back; break away from what you’ve known.
Back to the illustration above – After the broken plate had been thrown in the trash, the owner had second thoughts and so they dug through the trash and found all the broken pieces. The pieces were placed on a table next to them. They watched in amazement as the pieces were drawn together into a plate again.
Yet, I can’t do this and you can’t do this. But I know someone who can. God alone can put you back together again. And when he does, your vessel will be even stronger than before and much more than just ordinary.
Ezekiel 34:16 - I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.
Have you suffered an injury and thought, “If only I’d been paying more attention to what I was doing?”
Maybe, maybe, maybe …
You can examine every detail over and over, but to keep focusing on what you might have been able to do doesn’t change what happened. There is something you can do, though – be more aware of your surroundings and what you are doing.
These four ways are known to most people, but what about watching your surroundings to help you stay well and free of accidents?
As you read through the list you may have found ways that you’re not being careful, which could mean, that it was your fault when you got hurt or sick recently. Try not to be too hard on yourself. It’s not too late to learn new ways to prevent accidents. Washingtonnational.com has some tips on prevention in their article, “A Guide to Preventing Accidents at Home and in the Workplace."
One way is to manage your meds. If you take prescription or over-the-counter drugs ask your doctor and pharmacist about possible side effects, because they can alter your coordination, alertness and judgment. In addition, people of all ages are injured or die from falls. Be sure to check your vision regularly. Poor eyesight can lead to a fall.
Being more aware can make it less likely that you are injured or become sick and will help you see that not all of these circumstances are your fault. Be sure that God will bind up any injury you’ve experienced, and will strengthen you when you are sick. Also, remember that he’s not as judgmental and hard on us as we are on ourselves. I guarantee that he is a merciful God and will be with us no matter what.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.