I have made you and I will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you. – Isaiah 46:4
(statue in Thailand, from one of our times there)
I see it on the news, on social media feeds, on newspapers, even if you were to avoid all of that – you still see it in the eyes of neighbors, or someone you pass at the grocery store: suffering and pain. This world overwhelms me with its incredible pain and suffering, and it isn’t ceasing, if anything it increases daily.
I sometimes want to turn away and ignore what’s before me. Whether it be something I see in our own neighbors or the homeless man whom we see almost daily near our home’s exit, or what I know is happening in my extended families, or what we’ve seen overseas from Red Light District in Amsterdam and Thailand to the streets of Indonesia and Malayasia, or maybe it’s in the stories we’ve heard of starving children in refugee camps.
THERE IS SO MUCH pain. Too much.
I felt overwhelmed this morning, angry even, crying out about the needs and brokenness I see. I was remembered this verse. It’s one of my favorites. And I know personally, His carrying, sustaining and rescuing doesn’t always look like what we might imagine, but He always does pull through, even if it’s simply His presence and peace felt in a season of chaos, ruin of dreams or lives, and even death.
There is a sense of peace that comes when remembering HE has overcome the world. HE has made, carries, sustains and rescues our broken souls, even our own and whatever “little” to big thing we may be walking through.
(from my trip to Indonesia)
Every single soul we come in contact with has meaning and purpose.
Well, duh! We all know this, right?
There is something I’ve noticed in my own life. It isn’t pretty and it’s tempting to skip over this part.
Something can happen when you’ve traveled around the world and seen the things we’ve seen. What’s before us, here in front of us in our typical American neighborhood, can seem so small and insignificant. I once heard someone say that they couldn’t engage with others here (in America) because of the things they had seen overseas. They’d decided that the people’s problems were small and insignifanct compared. I was surprised by that perspective but then I had my own moment at a soccer game where I realized I too had this sense of entitlement, where I had decided someone’s story/life were insignificant.
A fellow soccer mom who I had engaged with throughout the soccer season, asked to swap numbers. I caught myself, and it hit me, when had I started thinking it was okay to decide that someone’s life/pain was less significant or meaningful because they aren’t walking through the horror/tragedy I’ve seen others walking through? I feel like it was a moment that has forever changed my perspective. It’s like this,
“Saying someone can’t be sad because someone else may have it worse is like saying someone can’t be happy because someone else may have it better. ~Unknown”
Since Ted has been gone this quote had truly popped up in my mind SO many times. I had many, many, many people compare their life and circumstances to my own – without my husband here – and talk their own struggles down. And I constantly thought it and spoke it out when I could, their struggle or pain or exhaustion was REAL.
There story/life wasn’t insignificant simply because my own personal walk looked different than theirs.
But what does this mean? To actively live this out, recognizing that every person we come in contact – along with their problems – is signigicant, does that mean we bear even more weight of the world?
It would feel easy to get all wrapped up in feeling overwhelmed again. To either shut down and ignore it or try to carry it all. But friends, maybe it isn’t our job to carry all the weight of all the world, but instead lighten it whenever we can, in whatever capacity we can.
Is there any act of good that is small? I really don’t believe there is!
I immediately think of my own life, in this season since Ted has been away, and the seemingly small things that have had a huge impact on my life that others have done to take care of us. From meals, watching my kids, speaking truth where I’ve believed lies, a friend offering her husband to come over and chase my boys around since their daddy is gone, asking me how it’s going, inviting me to things, helping carry the weight of my husband being away. THESE ARE NO SMALL THINGS.
Listening to the neighbors or a friend that just need a listening ear, a word of compassion or encouragement. That is NO SMALL THING.
Making eye contact or even introducing yourself to another momma at the park. That is NO SMALL THING.
Giving a water and granola bar to the homeless man with kind eyes, who often stands at your home’s exit. That is NO SMALL THING.
Being a parent. Enough said, right? That is NO SMALL THING.
Asking others about their life, showing that you care and desire to know how they are doing. That is NO SMALL THING.
One of my dearest friends in one of the most giving and humble souls I know. She is constantly doing good, with whomever she comes in contact with – from her neighbors to the refugee center she takes her 3 small children too biweekly. It isn’t for other eyes to behold, her name isn’t shinning in light as she never shares it publicly. She simply does good for the sake of being Jesus to others. It’s unseen to others, but the people she’s reaching THEY see it. And that is NO SMALL THING. (I do love to read of the good others are doing elsewhere or here in my own town, so I’m not saying sharing publicly is an issue! )
What I am saying is that these good things that are done, even the seemingly insignificant ones, even the unseen ones, they are NO SMALL THINGS.
(another one from one of our times in Thailand)
We are doing good. We are being Jesus. We might not even recognize it because it can sometimes feel it’s too simple, not significant enough to make a difference, not blog-worthy enough to write home about even, but it is truly significant. We are being light and goodness, even on a small-scale, it is impactful to the heart of that person.
Which is NO SMALL THING.
Take heart, friends. Do what you can. And remember Jesus has overcome (fill in the blank)__________. He is your Maker, your Carrier, your Sustainer, and your Rescuer.
He is also THEIR Maker, Carrier, Sustainer and Rescuer.
Be Jesus and let Him carry the weight of the world while you/we do good.