But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:16
I have often wondered what it might have been like for Mary to live in the very same house with Jesus; to bring him up as her own child, yet, secretly know that He was her Lord. The confidence with which she asked Jesus to turn water into wine gives an indication of one who had, through the years, either seen a lot under her roof or one who was working under the direction and influence of revelation of the Holy Spirit. Either way, she knew that He was more than capable of delivering a miracle.
In the journey of the Christian faith, I have come to know that there are certain things that God will reveal to us but which we will lack the words to communicate to our friends or families about; these are the miraculous intimate moments that we have with God through Jesus Christ and over which we ponder in our silent moments. These are the things that we go through and when we pass through the fire, we are not quite able to share our experiences with others; instead we later retreat into ourselves and thank him for them. We however, realize much later that we may be called upon to now share them in testimony to heal or comfort another. Many months later, after pondering about it all in my heart, this article, for me, is one such moment; to share and to comfort. And so that those that have gone through tough moments can share their testimonies of God's love. 2Corinthians 1:3-4 says, 'praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God'.
He chose to reveal himself to me in this way and I am glad that He did because I will never be the same again. He chose to put me through it all so that I would understand His love for us humans. It just happened. One moment I was giving a compassionate ear to a brother, the next moment this pain hit me right inside my heart. I always thought I was compassionate until Christ taught me the kind of compassion that He had for us. He took me through hospitals, to strange beds and to stranger people. But with each and every one, He gave me love, He gave me patience, He gave me a listening ear. And when I extended my hand and touched them, I felt their pain, and I cried with them. I could not understand where this overflow of emotion was coming from but I knew that He was inside me and He was touching them. I was but a tool to make them see the love of God, through Jesus Christ.
I felt love for the bus driver, oneness with the newspaper vendor, kinship with the night watchman, compassion for the beggar on the street, love for my neighbor and the world, joy for worship, tears in prayer and wonder for God whose presence I could not have enough of. This ran in waves of joy over and over again, every single day, until I thought I would surely die. I was lost in a world of pure love, care and concern. I did not care much about myself, I decreased as He increased. All that mattered was that I wake up and go find someone out there who needed a word, a touch, love, compassion or Christ. And when we talked, their pain became my pain, their tears, mine. It felt like I had stepped into another realm of life, of operation, of faith. I understood what Charles Finney had gone through when he had had an encounter with Christ. And I understood why Mary had chosen to keep a lot of things in her heart. As I write this, I realize how limited I am in words because some things cannot be well communicated by words, they can only be felt, then treasured in the heart.
Then He explained to me, that this is what He feels when we cry, when we hurt, when we are sick or when we are in our corners, all alone and rejected. When we are stigmatized for our lifestyles, our addictions or for our diseases, He feels our pain right in His heart. He feels our desperation when our families go without food. He hears us when we call. He sees every tear that we cry. He cries with each and every one of us. He sighs with us. It all weighs on Him; He takes it all in and tries to comfort us. He tries to tell us that He feels the same. But we do not listen to His soothing voice. We do not lie still and know that He is in control. Hebrews 4:15 says 'For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are-yet was without sin'. Jesus Christ understands our pain. But he laughs with us too. He celebrates with us for as long us we live according to God's commands.
Then in Easter of this year, He showed me a heap of foetuses and asked me to pray for the unborn children who would end up dead due to abortions. The pain was more than I could bear but I kept at it. Lying prostrate in my room I prayed day and night for three days. I cried and prayed like never before until I asked Him to make it go away. He did, but I wondered how much more He takes our pain without wishing it away.
Oh what wicked creatures we have become to stop God in His tracks! Psalms 139:15-16 shows how the thought comes to God before He creates, His eyes see our unformed body. Yet man in his wickedness tries to stop God's thoughts and plans by killing the unborn child and calling him or her a 'thing'. Each and every foetus that I saw was a child whose life had been or would be cut short by a thought of a parent; to destroy, to stop. Oh how much more Christ cries! We were born, we were not aborted, why would we do something so wicked to an unborn child? Why should we play god and stop life? Only He has a right to take life because He gives it.
Then I wondered, if He feels this deeply about an unborn child, how much more for me who is here, who knows Him, who calls Him Abba Father; how much more for those of us who are hurting and whom He knows by name; how much more for us whose thoughts He knows, whose births He supervised over; how much more for those that are lost, defeated, depressed, desperate, discouraged, drugged yet dead in the world; how much more for those He calls but who do not listen to Him; how much more for those who disobey His commandments; how much more for us who are more precious than sparrows, yet none of these birds fall to the ground without His knowledge. Do we not know how much more He loves us?
As I close this veil of things that He sometimes lets us see, I become weighed down to love my brother again because I am his keeper; to visit the sick more because it is Christ that I visit; to intercede more for the unborn child because I was born and not aborted; to have compassion for those that need to be heard because He comforts me when I need Him to; to treat others as I would have them treat me because we all need to be understood; to avoid arguments and quarrels but instead retreat into prayer and solitude like Christ always did because if I profess to be His follower, then I must try daily to be like Him.
He may be away in heaven but by His indwelling presence in our hearts, He sees what we have to struggle with on earth and tells us that it shall be well. But do we really know this? Then why do we worry? Why do we doubt Him? Why do we want to do it our way when He is the way? He loves us much more than anything else in this world and that is an experential as well as a Biblical fact.
(word count- 1458)
May these words (sermons), from various men and women of God be a blessing to all.