This morning as I was perusing my facebook page I was struck by all the prayer requests from hurting people from my 1,500+ friends list. Reading all the sorrowful reports, I took them to the LORD in prayer with tears caused from the empathy they aroused in me.
There's so much hurt going around in this Valley of Tears. Social media has given us a glimpse of the many prayers God receives every day. We've all read them. People asking for prayer for various reasons:
* Painful cancer treatment;
* Loss of house trying to pay for wife's medical needs;
* Emotional struggles facing first Christmas after loss of loved one;
* Living in fear over rising crime rates in neighborhood;
* Pictures of decapitated children murdered in Islamic countries:
* Persecuted believers being imprisoned for their faith.
And on and on. Reading all of these can be overwhelming. We understand what the Bible means when it says, "When one member suffers, we all suffer; and when one member rejoices, we all rejoice." (loose paraphrase). Yet with all the information coming our way on facebook, the sounds of sorrow can drown out the sounds of joy.
A scene from the film 'Bruce Almighty' came to mind. In this farce the Jim Carrey character was granted the ability to be God for a day. He became inundated with voices of prayers coming at him. He started writing the requests down on post-it notes, and then filled file cabinets. Finally he sent out a huge group email saying 'Yes' to them all.
I wish I could do the same for all those suffering. But I'm not God and neither is Bruce. God does have His purposes for suffering. He can even turn "all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes." (Rom 8:28) And Jesus identifies with our infirmities. He was a 'man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.'
It is comforting to know that we can cast all our cares upon Jesus today, even as we bear one another's burdens. We do have the joy set before us of our redemption and can look beyond this life's troubles to our coming reward. On that note, I hope this song is an encouragement.
"looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Heb 12:2