Lending A Hand When You're Down And Out
Being helpful when you yourself are hurting can be difficult. Every thought often returns to your own pain and suffering. Yet helping others is a balm for the soul.
You hear all the platitudes. "Help yourself by helping others." "One day at a time." "Step by step." "Just keep on keeping on."
They sound great until your own heart and soul are ripped apart and gushing all over the place. Deep pain cripples every action. In this agony, you must choose. Continue to focus on yourself, making life more miserable or ...
Choose to focus on others around you.
Look close enough and the distress of others will become visible. Problems, trials, and pain abound in this world. When we reach out to help each other, our burdens become lighter and pain eases.
I have lost loved ones. Friends have turned on me. Illness and pain have overcome me. Yet as I observe those around me, I see they could use my help in their trials. I have found peace in comforting a grieving widow. Love has filled me as I help my diabetic brother triumph over temptation and gain control of his health. Joy brightened my heart while taking a friend, who couldn't drive, home so he could share Christmas with his mother.
Helping others is not easy. Being a servant takes me out of my way. Lending a hand costs me time, effort, and money. And not often is the effort I exert appreciated as much as I might like. Christ's command however was that we humble ourselves, serve others, and do so without expectation of acknowledgement or reward, for this is our duty.
A tall order indeed.
The rewards are even greater. We store up in heaven for ourselves the rewards of relationships and love. Whether what kindness we show, or what help we give is recognized in the here and now does not matter, for God has promised to recognize us for it in heaven. Hearts have been changed by single acts of grace.
Helping others when you are down and out refocuses the attention off of us (selfishness) and on to God. For God is in the helping business. Each act of helping brings us closer to Him. Starting with one little action, leading to another, brings a cascade of acts. Before long you find yourself looking for ways to be helpful and enjoying the process.
Pray for others who have similar problems and know that you are not alone. Lend a hand and know that you are valuable. Get involved and know life is worth doing something. And focus your faith and trust in God, for He is the source that will see you through all things.
When you are down and out, get up and get helping.