#TalkingThursday – If you don’t talk about Jesus who will?
At the start of this year, we examined 12 instructions given to us from I Thessalonians 5:12-22. We decided to implement these instructions by doing at least one of them each month. Following our list, the instruction for May is to:
Help the weak, be patient with them all.
As Christians following the mandate of our Lord Jesus, it is important to be considerate towards the weak amongst us. Being weak applies not only to the poor or people having little energy due to sickness/disease. They also include:
♦ Believers under serious financial pressure.
♦ Believers under serious emotional pressure (such as those struggling with the loss of a loved one or undergoing some sort of psychological trauma or mental disease).
♦ Believers struggling with developing godly character. For example, those struggling with drug or sexual addictions.
It is imperative for us to show compassion to such categories of people just as Jesus did. He cared for, delivered and restored them from their weaknesses.
Whether we are strong or not, we have an obligation towards the weak.
We ought to remember that just as Jesus helps us in our weakness, we must extend the same mercy to our brothers and sisters dealing with one weakness or another.
If instead we are puffed up, pretending we’ve never been weak and needed someone to help us out, we are no different from the Priest and Levite in the story of the Good Samaritan, who mindlessly passed by the weak man on the road and hurried off selfishly to “more important matters”.
In this post, the focus is particularly on the second category of weakness because I relate most to that category of weakness at this time. Here’s why:
As I write this, my father is about to buried on my mother’s birthday. I’m at one of the weakest points of my life, and yet I feel strength. It’s like I’m being propped up by something greater. Not physically, but in my Spirit. So far, God has been my helper. He has sent me help through His word, help in form of human angels who ministered deeply to me through their words of comfort and help through his beautiful bride, the church.
It’s been over a week, yet sometimes, it feels like a bad dream I’ll soon wake up from. Throughout this month, I’ve been tried and tested and it has stretched me in all sorts of ways. I’m starting to feel like a used hairband.
There have been at least a dozen people trooping in and out of my home daily to “check on” my mother and me. People I haven’t seen in weeks, months or years, some I don’t even know at all – but they’ve all come to visit, and they all had something to say.
At first, I hated the look in their eyes. That condescending gaze of pity. I didn’t want their pity, I didn’t want their consolation. I just wanted to forget that it happened. So I slept A LOT. I slept not just to forget, but to avoid people when they would come to visit. I’d lock myself away in my room or pretend to be busy with something, anything. So that I wouldn’t have to hear the words “sorry for your loss”. Was it a loss? Really, my father had been sick and bedridden for nearly a decade. At 88, he lived long and achieved much. I wrote the bio for his death and it was filled with all sorts of achievements in legal and commercial fields.
However, I didn’t get to know him personally because of his illness, in fact explaining my relationship with my father is quite complicated, so I won’t even give it a try, but I’d like to think that his passing away, is not as sad as people might imagine. God gave me two years to prepare my heart, although I ran away during one of them. He’s been guarding and strengthening me since 2016, preparing me for the inevitable.
So when my father passed away in front of me at the hospital at 6.28pm on the 1st of May, it wasn’t “heartbreaking” news at all. Still, I felt weak. My knees wanted to give way. For a while, I couldn’t really stand. I was just bent over in deep thought.
It was happening again. Change. If you’re an avid reader of this blog, (or maybe you just know me personally) you’ll know I’m in a love/hate relationship with change. Yet here she was, staring me in the face again, knocking on my door. This was scary. Fear wanted to overwhelm me, but the Prince of Peace would not let that happen. The Holy Spirit came swift to my rescue. For indeed the Lord’s hands are not short that He cannot save, neither are His ears deaf that He cannot hear. He steadied my heart, set my focus on Him. Comforted me in the deepest corners of my soul.
So far, I’ve had to deal with snide comments such as I’m sorry he didn’t live to see you get married. With people trooping in and out to give all sorts of advice to my mom and I and family members “crocodile tear crying”. I’ve also had to overcome some very dreadful thoughts about the word “fatherless”, and experiencing sudden, short yet random outbursts of tears.
While still going through all this, my childhood friend, who was consoling me about my father’s death only a week ago, suddenly passed away on the 13th of May. He was someone I’ve known since age 4/5 and was really someone I cherished a lot. He was only 21 years old. He had such a bright personality. This is a shocking death and one that I am personally very heartbroken over.
All this has shown me that it’s no coincidence that helping the weak is our instruction for the month of May. I’d always projected the image of strength but as it turns out, I’m the who needed help after-all. And God has been faithful. Slowly but surely, I’ve been finding help in my weak moments. Thus, I’m taking a page from my life to share three places every Christian can find help when they need it.
1. You will find help through God’s Spirit.
Do you know that the Holy Spirit is Jesus’ promise of comfort in times of trouble? Scripture says:
John 14 [Selected Verses]
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor— Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever — I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, bereaved, and helpless]; I will come [back] to you.
– Verses 16, 18 [AMP]
I love the way the Holy Spirit is described in these verses as a helper, a comforter, an intercessor, counsellor, strengthener. All of these attributes are what we need when we are down. We need someone to help us do what we cannot comfort us as we grieve, be an intercessor when we cannot pray on our own, stand as an advocate when we cannot defend ourselves, counsel us when we need wisdom, and strengthen us when we feel exhausted physically and mentally.
WHAT A PACKAGE! WHAT A GIFT! WHAT A PROMISE!
How little we make use of the Holy Spirit though, He is the complete grace that we need to endure every trial. So we must seek Him out and cling to Him. For God gives the Holy Spirit to us so we may not be as orphans who are helpless. No, we have a great and strong helper, who is the gift of God to those in Christ Jesus.
In the same way the Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weakness. We do not know what prayer to offer or how to offer it as we should, but the Spirit Himself [knows our need and at the right time] intercedes on our behalf with sighs and groanings too deep for words.
– Romans 8:26 [AMP]
Let the Holy Spirit help you! Let Him intercede for you! Let Him guide you through this time of weakness. You may feel angry at God but now is not the time to dwell on your anger. I wanted to be angry, but all that melted away as soon as I embraced the Holy Spirit. I cried out to Him, and He rescued me. He poured out love to ease my pain and weariness. Cling to the Holy Spirit like a newborn clings to his mother’s breast. Don’t push God away. You need Him now more than ever.
2. You will find help in God’s word.
Other than intercession, one of the major ways the Holy Spirit does the job of comforting and helping us is by reminding us of God’s word.
“I have told you these things while I am still with you. But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you. Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]
– John 14:25-27 [AMP]
When you’re weak, the safest and quickest place to find healing is to“soak yourself in the word”, as a dear friend of mine quickly reminded me. Because the flesh is facing trials, it won’t be easy, and the letters on the page may seem abstract or difficult to believe, but you must make yourself do it. Why?
Because scripture is littered with passages that bring comfort and healing and the Holy Spirit may be guiding or reminding you of several of them during this time. You have to obey his leading to go and read those verses.
For example, if you are weak because your spirit is restless, the Holy Spirit may remind you of the verses above where Jesus promises to give you peace. Let Him guide you to personal places in the bible that can help you in your weakness.
A few general bible verses that offer help in times of weakness include:
…do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 [NIV]
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble. – 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 [NIV]
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow]. – Psalm 147:3 [AMP]
For our momentary, light distress [this passing trouble] is producing for us an eternal weight of glory [a fullness] beyond all measure [surpassing all comparisons, a transcendent splendor and an endless blessedness]! So we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for the things which are visible are temporal [just brief and fleeting], but the things which are invisible are everlasting and imperishable. – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 [AMP]
and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be death; there will no longer be sorrow and anguish, or crying, or pain; for the former order of things has passed away. – Revelation 21:4 [AMP]
3. You will find help from God’s Church.
We can find help in Christ’s bride when we are weak. The bride is meant to be the help-meet of her husband. Therefore, it is the duty of the Church to help her husband in his work/ministry. As Jesus was heavily involved in restoring the weak, so also his bride, the church must assist him in this work. Being part of the church means that we have this responsibility to show compassion to those who need it.
On the flip side, when we are weak, we need to avoid isolation and open up to others about our struggles, to the right people and who better than the church, the bride and body of Christ, our spiritual family. However, its not just anybody in church we go mouthing off to. We must let the Holy Spirit lead us to who we can seek wise counsel from. Ask Him to send people with messages of comfort and to silence people with messages of distress, fear or panic.
Yes, being vulnerable and sharing your struggles to others is scary, and can leave you feeling naked and exposed but right now, we must trust that God will lead us to those in the body of Christ who will cover our nakedness just as he did with Adam & Eve.
You cannot do trials in isolation. You need the body of Christ. You need the church. Yes, you’ve been church-hurt and frustrated, but you have to overlook those trust issues and get help. Don’t let the pain of pride stand in the way of your healing!
When we have a wound on our leg, we need our hands to come in and care for that wound. If the leg was too shy/proud and refused help from the hands, how would it get better?
Ask the Lord to connect you with members of your local church, who will be angels to you during this time to help you through your struggle.
The church was instrumental to me in dealing with all the deaths that happened this month. They were here with comforting words and prayers. They helped in ways that even my family members could not. Most of the funeral preparations were taken on by them. They really came through and covered our nakedness. Even my church in the UK also reached out when they heard and went above and beyond to comfort me during this time.
I cannot express how very grateful I am to have them as my spiritual family!
How to help a weak person:
I’ve talked about where we can find help when we need it, but how about when its time for us to help others? Many of us don’t really know how to comfort or help people when they’re going through bad times. As a result, we often end up saying all the wrong things and making their pain even worse.
I appreciated it when many of my friends simply said, “I’m so sorry, I don’t know what to do, How can I help you? Can I pray for you?” For me, that was more sincere than shallow messages such as “Sorry for your loss”, ” Please accept my condolences” or “Don’t worry, It is well.”
Instead of making shallow and insincere remarks. Here are three ways you can actually help someone who is going through a hard time:
ℑ Be An Encourager – You must always choose your words very very wisely. Remember to speak in love (I Corinthians 13). Don’t just say whatever, instead let the Holy Spirit guide your tongue. Let the Great comforter give you words of inspiration that bring hope, health and healing. Pour honey oil and wine to cleanse their pain, instead of rubbing salt in their wounds with your silly and shallow remarks (Proverbs 16:24, Ephesians 4:29).
ℑ Be Sincere – It’s not about you right now, so don’t go telling stories of your own experiences or about how you can “relate”. Instead, ask how you can “help”. What they want isn’t just someone who can relate, it’s someone who sincerely wants to help in any way they can. Even if it’s just by sitting there and watching them cry, listening to them patiently, holding them and hugging them. Comforting others is an exercise in long-suffering. Don’t get upset if they are wavering in their faith because they’re having a hard time. Don’t get angry or surprised if they start to say all sorts of things towards God or express a desire to abandon their faith. Be patient in your listening, hugging and encouraging them. In the meantime, do what they can’t do for themselves, such as house chores or grocery shopping. Such gestures convey sincerity and show love towards the person who is hurting at this time.
ℑ Be An Intercessor – Ask to pray with them. Even if it’s just on the phone or via video call, pray with them, however, you can. Also pray for them on your own or via a prayer team in your church. Letting them know you’re praying for them can be comforting, but actually doing the prayer bit is key. Speak with the Lord about what they are going through because they may find it too hard to pray for themselves at that moment. When you pray, you stand in the gap for them, just as Jesus does, and wants you to do too (Ephesians 6:18; I Timothy 2:1; Hebrews 7:25).