It’s now been about a year since I have moved and reappointed from the Great Lakes State of Michigan to the Show-Me State of Missouri and left many friends behind, hoping that one day I will hear from them again.
Well, they have forgotten me and I have forgotten them. Our intention was to keep in touch; however, we did not and it would seem that we have dropped off the face of the earth by losing our personal connection. We live in a society that when we lose sight of people, we tend to forget that they continue living on. Life overtakes us and the signs of the time engulfs us and we forget to pray for those who need Jesus. You have heard the old saying, “Out of sight – out of mind." If someone who used to be on our radar suddenly vanishes, an alarm should go off inside of us that says, “They must need some support.”
However, we seldom process our thoughts this way. We spend too much time in the “me, myself and I” reflection that we hardly ever think of anyone else. Our feelings are on the inconveniences of life, or focused on unreachable expectations. There’s just too much stuff going on. The only way people seem to handle the strain, discord and free-for-all of life is to hide in a corner somewhere unseen.
I guess that’s human. If you were aware a storm was on its way, you’d find a hiding place. If there was a tornado outside, you’d go in the basement to hide.
“When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm.” — Luke 8:24b.
Jesus is our wave fighter, a shelter from the storms of life that come to harm us. Just as a caterpillar desires to turn into a colorful butterfly, it wraps itself up in cocoon, forming the perfect hiding place. Jesus is our hiding place; it is in Him that we can find a secret place where His love and grace lives forevermore.
When someone seems to drop off the face of the earth, we should pray for them and ask God to bring them back into our sight. There is so much we don’t know about what they’re going through in life or in their Christian walk. They could be dealing with poor health, economic struggles, hopelessness, self-esteem issues, family crisis, sinful ways or just plain burnout.
“Consider it pure joy brothers whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” — James 1:2-3
God does not squander any life circumstances, so let’s be about encouraging those you know to see every trial as a means to be drawn closer to Him. You see, we can’t figure out our own lives anyway. It’s only by trusting on God and heeding His voice our lives run efficiently for Him. God has a delightful plan and purpose for all of us. When we work His agenda and follow His paths, we have good success in the mist of unsettled times like today.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.” — Isaiah 41:10.
By learning to be a channel of grace and not a reservoir of selfishness, we allow the Holy Spirit to flow through us. In contrast, by being self-centered and self-absorbed, we block up the channel of God’s grace from getting into our lives. Nothing gets in and nothing good comes out. So, pay attention. Instead of criticism, offer support and encouragement. If God gives you signals, take your cues and help the drop-outs to drop back into fellowship. There are more to situations than you realize.
Let’s reconnect. Make a list of people you haven’t seen for some time or those whom you miss because they have stopped calling. Make it be your pastoral business to lift them up in prayer. There is more to life than just being busy.
Send them a card or shoot an e-mail. Let those you have missed know that they are not forgotten. God just may use you to pull someone out of a pit of sin. And the next time you hit a curb and go sailing down yourself, God will send someone to help you out. “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” — Romans 13:11-12.
Major K. Kendall Mathews is the regional coordinator for The Salvation Army.