So the story goes, that when you least expect it, adversity strikes. This week, I thought a lot about adversity. I spoke with many regarding the adversity that they were facing in their lives. One is battling cancer and began the journey to healing with the first step, surgery. Another shared the possible prognosis of cancer. Another is dealing with a parent whose health is failing. Still another is considering career moves due to possible company difficulties. I also heard of friends who were dealing with personal health issues. Listening to adversity is not just part of my job, I consider it to be part of my heavenly calling.
When people share so much about what they are going through, I keep thinking that I may not be able to do much - I'm only listening. Then I thought about others who have had the patience to listen to me during adversity, family and friends who gave of their time to listen to tough times I was going through. They brought me much during those times - they brought comfort with their words (or just by "being" there); they brought companionship; they brought empathy; they brought a smile when I needed one. Sometimes, they even had the courage to say "enough is enough - start moving". These saints that Jesus sent to me just when I needed them provided me much when adversity came knocking. Jesus knew what I needed (doesn't He always?), and He sent someone to be with me.
Have you been there for someone who is going through adversity? I am sure you have. It is important to be there - to be "the Jesus" they need at that moment. We all need someone here on Earth to guide us through tough times. Think about what you can do the next time someone is going through difficulties - listening is such a big part of what Jesus provides to us. I know He is the first one I go to when the times get tough. I start talking to Him - and I KNOW He is listening. How? Because He always sends someone FOR me - to listen, to comfort. Our lives can be hectic - endless meetings at work, endless priorities at home. Sometimes it can seem like we don't have any time for others who may need us. Be there for someone who needs you. I guarantee you that Jesus will "pay you back" tenfold. He always does.
As I reviewed those conversations I had this past week, I remembered how I ended all of them, "I'll pray for you." I know that when someone shares those words with me, a sense of relief comes over me. I hope that the same happened for those I spoke with. Prayer is Powerful - especially during times of adversity. Sometimes, when we are facing challenges, we just can't seem to find the power to pray anymore. That's when those that hear our adversity can take over - and pray for us. That is even more powerful than a listening ear. Jesus is waiting to hear our words, our cries, for help.
The power of prayer can bring so much to all of us. Being there for each other, through prayer, gives us an attitude of blessings. This past week, I experienced my own adversity. Okay, are you sitting down? I fractured my OTHER ankle. Yep, after finally fully recovering from the severe break I had in my left ankle, I fractured my right one (misstepping a stair). As we race off to the emergency room, the prayers started. I kept praying and praying (and I know my husband was as well), that we wouldn't have to endure what we did the last time - surgery, weeks off of my feet, carrying up and down the stairs, work from home, etc. God Answers Prayers. Yes, it was fractured, but no surgery, a boot that I can walk in, ability to get to work, some time to keep it up, no difficult weather to manage through - lots of blessings. My attitude to this adversity is knowing that I was given many blessings by God - my attitude in this adversity has been one of prayer and thanksgiving.
Let us be the blessing for others who are handling adversity. Let us listen, let us provide words of encouragement, let us do what we can do best - PRAY!! Jesus is waiting for our prayers. There is no greater gift we can give to those that are suffering. A prayerful attitude during adversity is POWERFUL.
"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity." (NIV) Proverbs 17:17