Posted: 27 Mar 2012 06:17 AM PDT
"The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word" (Isaiah 50:4).
No one escapes life experience. Joy and sorrow, happiness and pain, sickness, and health—they visit us all in one form or another during our lifetime. The question is what we do with what we learn from them (if we learn from them). We've all heard the sayings, "It's not what happens that matters, but how you respond to what happens that matters," and, "It's not about the situation or the circumstance, it's about you in it."
In the summer of 2009, I felt as if the rug had been pulled out from under me. My mother had recently died following an ugly battle with cancer. I was an orphan. Both of my parents were gone and I was now in the middle of my own medical crisis. I was a woman on the verge. I remember at one point, after pleading with God to please set my feet on a different path, I just stopped...and listened for what seemed like an eternity. But I heard no voice, no magic answer. In the quiet, I asked God, if this was to be my path, that it would mean something, that it would be for something. In what I thought were the silent days and months of unanswered prayers that followed, I realized that God was answering me, teaching me that this was my path, and not to give up but to keep going, to keep working through it.
Since that time I've begun to notice, when speaking with those who are seeking to join the church, talking to co-workers, having lunch with friends, or spending time with family, once in a while, I hear something else in their words. I hear a tone, an emotion, or maybe something unspoken that connects with something in me and I understand. There is a deeper part of me, borne of the experiences God has quietly carried me through, that answers back, "How can I help you?" Because in helping you, I help myself; we help each other along the path.
We cannot grieve or hurt or be sick in isolation. We must not turn back, but instead, we must talk, listen, and reach out to one another without fear. In doing so we may recognize something familiar and be able to offer words of comfort and encouragement, words that sustain. We can serve one another; in doing so, we serve the God who has seen us through.
Gracious God, we are ever humbled at the miracles you work through us each day, even though we may not even be aware of them. We pray that others might see and hear a piece of you in all the things that we do and say and be sustained.
K. Ryan, member of Marble Collegiate