Before you consider laying your life down for your fellow man, consider laying yourself down daily in the small things of life.
Our need to be first overrides our sensibilities resulting in the small infractions of life. Stepping aside for someone on the same small sidewalk or pavement instead of fighting for the narrow space could be one.
Walking behind a car at the light instead of in front of it, could save the driver time wasted, waiting for you to cross on foot in front of the car. It might delay you two seconds but it gives you the opportunity to allow someone the advantage over you for a few seconds.
When standing in line and searching for your money, you could step aside for the next person who is ready with wallet and cash. It might hinder your progress but it is worth setting someone ahead to curb your need to be first.
Small things, daily encounters in life are the practice grounds for the laying down of your life if it ever comes up. One baby step at a time.
“In 1945, at the age of 20, he was captured by the Soviets and incarcerated. After some years of imprisonment, he was believed to have gone insane and, therefore, was transferred to a psychiatric ward in solitary confinement, 300 miles outside of Moscow. In 2000, when the Russians were trying to empty out their prisons and psychiatric wards, they brought a Hungarian psychiatrist to examine this man.
The psychiatrist examined Stamos for a few hours and concluded, “This man is not insane. In fact, it is you who are driving him insane. He is not talking nonsense. Rather, he is speaking a rare dialect of Hungarian.” As soon as he was released, the first thing Stamos asked to see was a mirror. He had not seen himself for 55 years; he had been 20 years old when he last saw his face. Now at 75, he looked at the mirror, put his face in his hands, and sobbed uncontrollably like a little baby, because of what had happened to him. To go through most of life without knowing what you look like is nearly unimaginable to us Americans. “
Our simple freedom of looking in the mirror to see our face should not be taken for granted. Our ability to pick up the Bible and read the word of God should not be taken for granted. Life is nothing without following the Lord.
El Capitan- Yosemite Valley
1My spirit is broken, my days are extinguished, The grave is ready for me.
15Where now is my hope? And who regards my hope? 16 Will it go down with me to Sheol? Shall we together go down into the dust? Job 17
Faced with such agony and pain, it should be difficult to respond. Never approach a person in such torment with flippant answers. Never respond with light hearted banter and promises of how it will get better. Listen and be silent. Listen and be respectful. And above all listen and pray.
We are called to share in each others’ sorrows and pain not make light of them. When a person is under the hand of the Lord and being dealt with, do not feel sorry for them nor find excuses for the situation they are in. Because in doing so, you are judging the Lord’s behavior and finding Him unjust. But neither should you make light nor be irreverant. Repudiating pain in another is kicking somone when they are down.
Agony of the soul is a dark spot every believer faces at one time or another in their walk with the Lord. If the Lord did not intend for us to be in pain, He would not allow us in this life. A bush only flowers and brings forth fruit under distress. So it is with most of us, we show forth our Fruit after a time of distress when on the other side of the problem, we come out victorious.
George Shinn in 1875 was summoned once at midnight to the bedside of an old woman who lived by herself without much in the way of either money or friends and was dying. She managed to convey that she wanted some other woman to come stay with her for such time as might have left, so George Shinn and the old woman’s doctor struck out in the darkness to try to dig one up for her.
It sounds like a parable the way it is told and I am inclined to believe that if someone were ever to tell the tory of your lives and mine, they also would sound more like parables than we ordinarily suppose.
They knocked at doors and threw pebbles at second story windows. One woman said she couldn’t come because she had children. Another said she simply wouldn’t know what to do, what to be, in a crisis like that. Another was suspicious of two men prowling the night and wouldn’t even talk to them.
But finally, as the memoir of Dr. Shinn puts it, in the prose of another age,
“They rapped at the humble door of an Irish woman, the mother of a brood of children. She put her head out of the window.
‘Who’s there?’ she said. ‘And what can you want at this time of night?’ “
They tell her the situation.
“Her warm Irish heart could not resist.
‘Will you come?’
‘Sure I’ll come and I’ll do the best I can.’
“And she did come,” accounts Dr. Shinn. “She did the best she could.”
Excerpt from: “Listening to Your Life” by Frederick Buechner for December 4th.
Fence on the Beach, Oil Paste