Most People Are Barely Hanging On

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I’ll be honest with you, there are moments when my heart is so heavy. There are many times when I find myself fighting back tears. I mean, yes, I have my own issues and problems that I am dealing with, as we all do, but I am really talking more about feeling compassion and empathy for others. I don’t know if it is an age thing or because I am choosing to slow down and listen to other people more.

I want to try, really try, to have eyes like Jesus. To see people the way He sees them. The hurting, the tired, the forgotten, the needy, the scared, the overwhelmed, the anxious, the pained and the lost.

Struggles are real. People hurt. This broken world tips sharply on its axis, making us all dizzy from the pain… Dare I say that anyone who says they don’t suffer is lying to you? Or to him or herself?

As a child I used to wish I could have the super power of reading peoples minds. I thought it would be cool to know what they were thinking…a great party trick. The decades have slipped past and although I have never been able to read minds, I have gotten better at reading hearts. (Thank you, Jesus.)

*A student who anxiously tells me, “I hope my grandfather makes it to mine and my brother’s graduation. I told him he has too, but I just don’t know. If he doesn’t, I will be so sad.”

*Aging parents with hard diagnoses, having to live with something they never asked for. Grown children realizing that time stops for no one, including their parents, and that particular knowledge is difficult.

*The young adult who finds himself in a place of his own making…realizing it is not where he really wants to be. Each day the work to change is hard and he is tired.

*The young woman who constantly wonders if she is good enough?

*The new parents who are outwardly excited, but inwardly terrified at the realization of being mom and dad, and doing it “right”.

*The man whose job is on the line, and he feels he is too old to start over.

*The woman who is divorced, raising her kids and working hard to provide.

*The children who make the poor choices.

*The babies that are caught in the middle.

*The friend who cries in the shower at night because life is overwhelming, but smiles during the day.

*Prayers during surgeries.

*Crying over the death of loved ones.

My prayer is to have the eyes and the heart of Jesus for others. To meet people where they are at. To hold a hand…to hold a heart. To sometimes whisper words of comfort, or have a shoulder to cry on. To talk to them, or just be quiet and listen. Help where I can, and stand back when necessary. I don’t always know the right thing to do but, I am trying….. Thank you, Jesus.

When the Lord <Jesus> saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, “Do not weep.” Luke 7:13

Seeing the people, He <Jesus> felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36

When He <Jesus> went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:14

…and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him! John 11:34-38 <after His friend, Lazarus, had died>

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One <Jesus> who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

They Are Precious In His Sight

A homeless man in Paris

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The homeless man on the street—the one holding the sign that says he will work for food….. He does need food. Everyone needs to eat. To survive. Even more than food he  needs to know Jesus. Not a pious “Jesus” that throws him some crumbs. Not a “Jesus” that tells him to move off the corner because he’s making the street look dirty. Not a “Jesus” that looks the other way, because the homeless guy makes him uncomfortable. This man hurts physically from lack of shelter and food. He hurts spiritually because he wonders if this is all there is for him? All he deserves?  He needs to meet the REAL Jesus.

The business man in the expensive Italian suit needs Jesus too. He needs the “Jesus” that will accept him. The “Jesus” that knows he’s not perfect but loves him anyway. He needs the “Jesus” that doesn’t expect him to work so hard for things…that life becomes meaningless. This man is handsome, and intelligent. He smiles…but, inside he is unsure. Balancing precariously on the line between great and never good enough. He’s afraid he is going to lose his balance. Afraid that this is all there is in life. He longs for more than the flashy car and the empty apartment. This man needs to meet the REAL Jesus.

The married couple that believe that this life is all there is. They are not sure if there really is a Jesus. And if there is, they aren’t sure they need him. They are self sufficient. Life is fun…..until it isn’t. Until something happens. Then they wonder….what about this Jesus? Is he real? And does he care? And if he does, why? They are scared to face this unknown. They think maybe if they fill their lives with stuff, they can forget the doubts that creep into their thoughts when the music has stopped…and it is quiet.  They need to meet the REAL Jesus.

The woman that stares at her reflection in the mirror with self-loathing. She realizes that she will never be tall, and slender and have perfect skin. Her reality is what she looks at in the mirror every day. She pinches and pokes at her flesh with merciless fingers. She longs for beauty, but sees none of it in herself. Sometimes she wants to die. It would be easier that way. She doesn’t understand that she is beautiful in Jesus’ eyes. She needs to know the REAL Jesus.

The young man that is the star athlete. The one all the colleges want. The pride of his hometown. He has the world before him, and yet he is unsure and scared. When one is put on a pedestal it is so easy to fall. He worries that people will find out that he isn’t perfect.  This boy needs to know the REAL Jesus.

The world is full of people that need to know the real Jesus. The young child, the rebellious teen, the scholar, the athlete, the mom, the dad, the business man, the young woman, the homeless, the prostitute, the dancer, the computer geek, the friend, and even the enemy. They all need Him.

The REAL Jesus is not the church building, though the church is made of people that should be the body of Christ. The REAL Jesus isn’t the pastor, minister, priest, or elder, though this person should have the mind and heart of Christ.  The REAL Jesus isn’t a charity or mission, though these groups should be the hands and feet of Christ. Since we live in an imperfect world…sometimes these groups, buildings, people are mistaken for Jesus.

The REAL Jesus is so much more than that. He is the Anointed One, Son of God, King of the Ages, Light of the World, Lord, Sure Foundation, The Most Holy, Wonderful Counselor, the Ransom for All Men…..and Salvation for mankind.

Jesus came that we might have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10) He and he alone is the One that sees us as we really are. We are all imperfect. We fail. We are fake. We lie. We regret. We say things we shouldn’t and don’t say things we should. The conversations that we have with ourselves are things we wouldn’t dare share with another. As much as we might long to do the right thing, we are pulled into doing the very things that make us want to kick ourselves.

That is why Jesus came.

Romans 5:6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5:7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.