Caring for the Desperate Even When the Desperate is You

Wavebreakmedia Ltd / Thinkstock

Cleaning up the cross.

Smoothly polished wood isn’t even good enough sometimes. We often prefer those polished metal and smooth ceramic crosses. Most folks I know have the ones that don’t have Jesus still on it. We like to focus on the fact that He came off the cross. That is good. It is good because Jesus did come off that cross. We have victory. But, on one day, He was on that cross—and it wasn’t pretty.

The cross wasn’t clean or tidy, and there are days in our messy lives when we desperately need Jesus on a rough, splintery, wooden cross with all the blood, tears, and pain, suffering right along with us until sin and death have been defeated.

We need that ugly, messy cross because here we are, stuck between the already and the not yet—between what we anxiously await and what we long to leave behind. Death has lost the war, but it is still here, battling us.

There are a million ways death battles us.

Depression
Cancer
Anxiety
Abuse
Addiction
Physical death
Self-harm

The list could go on for ages.

The cross wasn’t clean or tidy, and there are days in our messy lives when we desperately need Jesus on a rough, splintery, wooden cross with all the blood, tears, and pain, suffering right along with us until sin and death have been defeated.

Why do we seek to clean up the cross so desperately? We want to deny the existence of such suffering because it touches the deep wounds of suffering in us. They are like sore and throbbing open sores, and like children, we cry, “It hurts! Don’t touch it!” Yet, it is this touch of Jesus’ suffering that soothes and heals. He reassures us that even though we hurt, He will gently heal us as “…He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds [we are] healed” (1 Peter 2:24 NASB)

And somewhere out of that blinding pain, we find healing. And we wounded ones seek to help others get to that healing we have found. So, how can we offer healing to others? We walk with them to the foot of the same cross that healed us. No other balm will do than the Balm of Gilead. Whether it is forgiveness that is needed or absolution, God made flesh, whose flesh was bruised and torn, is ready to restore us to Himself and heal the places where we are broken. In the process of that reconciliation, He seeks to gently wash our wounds and apply his understanding and love to call us forth into life, even in the midst of what death tries to do in the here-and-now, on this side of eternity.

Death can beat us down and make us afraid if we let it. It can be absolutely exhausting in its unrelenting buffeting of our souls. We can hold on to our grip on life through the strength of God, but we cannot do it under our own power. We need community in order to make it through the messy and painful times in life. God has given us to one another for the sake of calling us all forth into life.

How can we be most effective at caring for the souls of others? We care for our own souls. We cannot lead another to a place we ourselves have not been.

Patricia Taylor is the editor for Soul Care Collective and a member of the Seedbed Farm Team.

SHARE

Patricia is a student at Asbury Theological Seminary and is our own Editorial Assistant here at Seedbed. She is the primary editor for the Soul Care Collective, and is also a prayer ministry graduate of the Healing Academy. She has a teenage son named William, and has a passion for writing, theology, missions, care of souls, and healing. She is currently serving as the Prayer Ministry Coordinator for Trinity Hill United Methodist Church, and is pursuing ordination in the Lexington District of the Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY