“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, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.” 2 Cor. 1:3-5
One day I walked out onto the streets of New York City, unclear whether I would go to a prayer meeting or not, and just started walking and walking until I stood outside a random subway station wondering if I’d go down the stairs to the subway or just keep on walking to some other subway station or no subway station at all. As though a string from heaven hung down guiding me like a puppet, the next thing I knew, I was headed down the stairs as a woman stood at the very bottom looking up the long double set of stairs.
She was clearly overweight, overheated, over-exhausted, over-stressed, overwhelmed, and overladen with a bag she was carrying, and she seemed stuck in place whereby she stared up the stairs as though she were facing the tallest mountain in the world, a mountain she would be unable to climb. I walked down the stairs, offered to help her, and when she immediately made it clear she didn’t want my help, I gave her a push. I had such a strong sense she needed help. When she realized she’d never make it up the stairs, and that I was sincere in offering help, she handed me her bag.
I offered her my arm, she took my arm, and together, slowly, so slowly, stopping along the way, we climbed the stairs. I asked her if she knew about Jesus, in her simple way as she seemed to have some sort of mental disability, she seemed to convey that she did believe in Him, I gave her my water to drink along the way, told her to take her time, I was in no rush, and we finally made it to the top.
Do you know what happened in the midst of it all? When she looked up those stairs and considered my offer? She started sobbing. Absolutely sobbing. I don’t know if it was pain, fear, relief, being so overwhelmed, her exhaustion, I have no idea what it was. But only a couple of hours before, I had been so incredibly sad and had written a devotional about how we need to go to the Lord for comfort, and how the Bible says when He comforts us, we can then comfort others with His comfort. There I was being given the most amazing opportunity in the midst of my own sadness to share God’s comfort with this sweet desperately in need woman.
When we got to the top of the stairs, and I made sure she could get herself to wherever she needed to go, I gave her a hug and told her I love her. And indeed I do. With the Lord Jesus Christ’s love. For just long enough for me to see, her face lit up with the love and care and compassion and mercy and grace and kindness she had been given from God, from Jesus, through this little vessel and servant of His. Then off she went.
My friend, please slow down. I can’t tell you how many times the Lord has sent me to the lost, forgotten, broken, hurting, abandoned, disabled, dying, addicted, abused, criminals, rejected, homeless, hungry, confused, the lonely, the filthy, the raggedy, the mentally challenged, the exhausted, the overwhelmed, and on and on. I can’t tell you how many times He has sent me to the very people so much of this world doesn’t even notice, or notices and turns its back on, or is too busy for, or doesn’t want to humble itself to help, etc.
Please slow down, and humble yourself, and don’t miss the opportunities the Lord lays before you to share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to share His love and to help a lost and broken and hurting world.
Please don’t miss the opportunities the Lord gives you. Not so very long ago, I was too consumed with myself to see how many people are in need. Then, when I did, I wouldn’t humble myself to help. I was still caught up in myself.
Please don’t be caught up in yourself. Please be caught up with the Lord Jesus Christ and with loving a desperate world in His name for His glory.
We all have our long staircases that seem like mountains we’ll never be able to climb, don’t we? And we all have our times of needing comfort, do we not? And God will give comfort to those who turn to Him and seek and receive it, won’t He? And that comfort isn’t just for us, is it? And we can give comfort to others because of Him, can’t we? And, together, we can slowly make up our way up the long staircases of this life in the love and strength of the Lord with our arms reaching out to one another to help each other up. For the Lord’s glory, Amen!