A Burden for Hurting People
As most of you know, I was involved in the career transition arena for many years, even starting a ministry named Chaplains at Work. While we assisted thousands of people find work, most of my work nowadays tends to be with teams to improve performance. I have noticed that this year, most teams are having a more difficult time getting started.
Not only that, but I have noticed that the personal lives of many people are also in turmoil. I hope that you understand that it would be wrong of me to name names, or to add too much detail to my descriptions, but it may help to understand the magnitude of the issues that people are dealing with this month. For starters, several companies I am aware of are in financial distress – struggling with issues well beyond their control – casualties of the weak economy and slow recovery. I am not immune either. This morning, as I was leaving downtown Indy, I actually got stuck in a parking garage and couldn’t get through the gate to exit. Since it was one of those prepaid garages, I had to wait for someone to arrive and let me out.
I was going to be late to my next appointment and took a different route out of the city to get there more quickly. As I turned down one street, I noticed the city jail on my left; and my mind raced to another man I know who was convicted of fraud and spent time in that very building after losing everything he had to his name. Of course, he went a little overboard, cashing in his wife’s retirement without her knowledge, borrowing excessive amounts of money and becoming hopelessly mired in debt. I am surprised his marriage survived the strain, and he will live with the label “felon” for the rest of his life.
Several others I know are suffering with physical ailments or restrictions. Even Janet ended up seeing the doctor for pain in her leg and both shoulders. Just crazy injuries – primarily related to rotator cuff problems and the dog running into her leg. Several families have dealt with the loss of loved ones – two deaths this past week-end; and several other families who have lost unborn babies in miscarriages. Then there are painful rehab sessions for people who have been injured on the job and are no longer able to work. I just remembered one other man who is having a hip replacement next month after years of destroying the cartilage in his body. I hope that he will be able to return to work…
Not all of the pain is physical. Sometimes it is stress related – such as taking classes to achieve a certification; or not having enough help on the team to get the job done, or going through a divorce. One man I know has only had 2 days off since November, and that includes Christmas! His family is being shortchanged and he just can’t seem to convince his employer that the workload is overwhelming. He looks terrible and sooner or later, the work will destroy him if something doesn’t change. To say nothing of people suffering financial problems….. and there are plenty of those.
Another friend is out of work and is trying desperately to once again become gainfully employed. That, as some of you know, is also very stressful, to say nothing of the impact it can have on the family. So, in all of these cases, people are hurting – not only the people who are being directly impacted, but their families as well. And when problems start, the first thing to go is communication – either in the family or on the team.
It is amazing to me that when we need people around us the most, most of us tend to push those who love or care for us away. Oh, I know, you probably aren’t guilty of this….. but I’ll bet you know people who exhibit this behavior when they have trouble. Yet God wants us to support each other all the time, and that includes when we are in turmoil.
Sometimes, when trouble strikes, we even forget about our faith and the fact that we can turn to God. Because we are so consumed with survival that we don’t consider the fact that prayer can be a very effective remedy for whatever ails us. The verse for tonight comes from the prophet Isaiah, speaking about Christ. In 40:11, we are told, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”
So the Scripture lets us know that Christ is there for us. When we are too weak to walk on our own, Christ will carry us – isn’t that amazing? My encouragement this evening is that Christ is there to lean on – and so are our families and our teams. Try it – share your burden with them. My prayer is that you will never forget that Christ will carry you when you aren’t able to do it on your own. And it’s no burden for Him – in fact, it’s a joy. So, perhaps this evening, you can send up a prayer for those who are struggling this year – physically or otherwise. And that the God of the universe will cradle them close to His heart. Grace and peace,