Like you, I observe people when I am out-and-about. But, more than ever before, I more often than not say a prayer for many people who get my attention that have a hurting countenance. When I observe that someone is apparently in pain, or when someone has trouble walking, or when someone is slow getting out of a car, for example, I pray on their behalf. My prayers often make request that the Lord grant to them some manner of healing or a particular help based on what I observe.
But, my spiritual magnanimity is not as magnanimous as it may sound on the surface. I have become more attuned to such matters involving others because such matters have become more attuned to me. Because of certain discomforts I have come to experience the last couple of years, the more sensitive I have become to those who are themselves in apparent discomfort. I have come to be more sensitive to the mobility hardships of others because mobility, in some respects, has become more rigorous for me. I have become more sensitive to the pains some have because I have some myself.
I am regretful that it has taken me getting where I am presently to be more sensitive to the circumstances where many people are in their life experience.
However, this progressing introspective has led me to consider a vital spiritual truth as it involves God’s ministry to us. It is true that many daily dismiss God because they believe that God does not care for them. The reason for this is the thinking and perspective that God has no concept of what they are going through or how they feel.
But, the contrary is actually the case, for, God does know. The reason He knows is because of the manifestation of Himself experienced in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. God knows what we go through and God knows what we feel because of the perfect human experience of Jesus Christ. And, it is not because He progressively came to know. He has always known, because He is Creator of humanity.
Nonetheless, the Writer of the Book of Hebrews had a particularly distinctive handle on this important spiritual truth pointing out that Jesus Christ was certainly “touched with the feelings of our infirmities.”
That explains the reason why He was so willing to forgive. On the Cross, He felt the same type of alienation from God that people sometimes feel. That explains why He was so willing to heal. On the Cross, He felt in His body the breaking of Crucifixion.
That explains why He was so willing to bless. In He Himself becoming poor for our sakes, He certainly felt the poorness of people. That explains why He wept, for He certainly felt the heartaches of people. He felt the angst of people. He felt with and for people, for He felt the humanity of people because of His own. And, His understanding of people has not stopped because He makes understanding intercession for each of us right now.
If you are dismissive of the Lord’s hardships for you during His earthly life and the rigors of His dying on the Cross for you, then you will be dismissive of the love of God for you and remain insensitive to what God has done for you through Jesus Christ. You will continue to live with a certain bitterness toward God, and will contribute to the general rejection in society of the notion of God’s salvation love. It is only by understanding that God understands that we are touched with the certain presence and ministry of God toward us.
This leads us to consider that if we would be more like Jesus Christ toward others how much better would be the human experience. The teachings of Jesus Christ teach us how to be in this thing together instead of being mean-spirited toward each other.
In the meantime, when you see the halt or the hurting, pray for them, not because you are yourself, but simply because they are. Others need our prayers, and prayers certainly help. I say prayers for you. Remember to pray for me.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.