“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Lightening the load leading to obedience

A colleague of mine, Dr. Kathy McReynolds recently wrote this for a project we are both working on as team members. She wrote,

"The church can help to lighten the load
by coming alongside people facing such circumstances
to make obedience more attainable"

I found that statement so profound. We think of coming alongside of people who are suffering for whatever reason, truly attempting to lighten their load, but have we ever thought about how that same effort can lead to obedience?

When I was recently in the Dominican Republic, my co trainer, Dr. Ben Rhodes asked a member of the group to briefly restate the story of Job. The class member described how Job lost his family, except for his wife. The fellow then said, "Satan left a weapon of mass destruction...his wife!" We all thought that was hilarious, but it was also so true. She was his "support" but it was a support that was attempting to lead him into disobedience. "Curse God and die!" is what she said. Job's friends were not much better in terms of leading him to obedience.

But we have the opportunity to come alongside people and support them with the strength to keep their faith in God. As we lessen their suffering with our presence, we perhaps make life more manageable, allowing them to take their eyes off of their pain, off of themselves to reflect a bit on their situation. I think people may be more easily tempted to do wrong things when they are tired, or physically exhausted or in pain. They may choose options to lessen these feelings and the things that they choose may not be the best for them.

When we come alongside of others who are suffering for whatever reason, our mere presence can be what is needed to help them to even attempt to be obedient. As appropriate, we can offer words of encouragement that can help as well. Obedience is hard for anybody, hence Christ's death leading to our forgiveness. What a beautiful thought that I have the ability to help you in the midst of trials or testing to be obedient as you do for me!


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