This morning I received a text message from my mother asking me to pray for a missionary family who lives near my hometown. She said yesterday, Valentine's Day, a man came into their house and shot and killed the wife and mother of three young children. I immediately was crushed and heartbroken. Such a tragedy! I understand that God is sovereign and in control of all things, but sometimes its difficult to grasp when things like this happen. My thoughts immediately went to when I was attacked. This story could easily have been my story. I began to question God. Why didn't the man who attacked me bring a gun? Why was I allowed to survive such an ordeal but this mother of three young children was not? Emotions overwhelmed me, and I began to think about the pain that this family must be going through today. What will bring them peace?
My mind was all over the place this morning but finally God rested it in these thoughts. What brought me through my time of great trial? First of all it was the amazing grace of Jesus. Secondly, it was the love, prayers and support from family, friends and the Christian community. I am still completely and utterly overwhelmed when I think about the amount of love, prayers and support I received in the first few weeks afterwards.I got an outpouring of visitors, flower bouquets, packages, cards, emails and text messages from people all over the world. What was even more humbling that many of them were from people I had never met, but who had heard my story one way or another. Why would all these people care about me? Who was I in the scheme of things? I felt so unworthy of all of the affection I was receiving. Despite these feelings, I realized quickly that it was this that was carrying me through. For the first time in my life I felt like I could actually "Feel" peoples prayers for me. I describe it as though I was riding on the prayers of others as they were carrying me up to the throne of our Father. It was the prayers of my brothers and sisters in Christ that brought me into the Lord's presence. I knew there was really nothing that I could do at that time. I was still so physically weak, I barely had any energy to pray or read the Bible yet my relationship with Jesus was stronger than ever. I felt so LOVED.
We are reminded over and over again in God's word about the importance of community in our lives. We were not meant to be alone in this world. We are created to desire and have relationships. We are meant to encourage and love each other sacrificially. So often there are people around us that are hurting and we have no idea. How often do we stop and ask each other how we can pray for each other? I realize I am guilty in so many areas surrounding this. Recently, my symptoms of PTSD have increased dramatically. I have been struggling for awhile in silence. I have friends, family, and a good church community, yet my pride keeps me from wanting to be vulnerable. My husband has been gently counseling me to be more open with others and share my struggles. It's easier to just tell people the usual "fine" answer when they ask how things are going in our lives, however it's more difficult when you feel alone in your pain. I know and have experienced the power of others praying for me and giving me encouragement, yet I still find it difficult to be honest and open. Why is this? I believe that Satan wants us to be isolated and alone in our faith. If he can disconnect us from others he can more easily attack us.
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A Person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back to back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
Let us take this as a lesson to come along side those who are struggling and alone in their faith. Let us also be more open ourselves with our own struggles and ask for help when we need to. This is not weakness or failure but this is where we gain strength.