I was ten. We were pulling away from our church parking lot. My mother was in tears. She was in a hard moment in her life. I remember her tearful frustration that there was no help offered by church friends. “Is it because we appear to be doing well?” She asked, not wanting an answer. The fact was clear to me that Mom was not doing well. But that was not the kind of well she meant.
My dad was a computer engineer in the 80’s. We were doing well compared to most folks in our small county church who’s income was probably half of my Dad’s.
Our home was a godly home. Back then, we might have been considered to be ultra-conservative sense we didn’t own a television and we home-schooled. We were about the only ones in our church holding to such standards and our family appeared to be a very godly one.
My mother was in-particular a very godly women, rising early and spending hours in prayer and Bible study before the household stirred. We were taught Scriptures, learned how to pray, were faithful to church and in the ministries of the church. Most folks at church probably were not that disciplined. So, spiritually, we were doing well if compared.
My parent’s marriage was in tact and they were both proactive at keeping it that way. Our home was whole. Again, compared to most folk at our small church, that was doing pretty good.
We were all healthy kids. There were no birth problems. We ate healthy. We spent hours playing outside. My parents were also very fit and healthy. For many of our church family, that was not the case due to poor eating, age, and other conditions.
So by all physical standards, were doing well. And because our circumstances looked good to others, why would anyone need to ask my mother how she was doing? Of course she was fine.
Sadly, our family’s success blinded our church family to the fact that we might have needs. My parents left that church when I was about 12. Although we attended a church until all the children in the family had graduated from college. My parents never latched on to church again.
Today, I wonder if part of the cause of my parent’s lack of finding a church family might be traced back to their years of lack of connection to a body of believers who saw their circumstances and not their souls.
Time has taught me that NO ONE is OK. We all have hurts, struggles, hard days. We all need to be inspired and encouraged to grow in our faith. We all need the prayers of others.
Questions for pondering:
Ministry is stifled so often by seeing the physical and not soul of a person.
How many needs are missed? How many souls are lost? How many people are in bondage to repetitive sins in their lives because they simply do not have another soul in their life who cares?
Am I not guilty of seeing the circumastances of a person before their soul?
How often a person’s circumstance blinds me from seeing the cries of her heart?
Do I fail to build connections with certain believers because they intimidate me?
Or because I think we have nothing in common?
Do I tend to travel circles with those I am most comfortable being with?
Do I attempt to connect with people who are very different from myself in age, status, politics, health, culture, or depth of faith?
As I ponder, my heart aches as I think of my Father. He may be yet a lot soul. I have no certainty of his salvation at this point. Would things be different in his soul if he had not been seen as “having it together” in his earlier days? I am left to wonder.
Those in need are not just the obviously destitute. We truly must blind ourselves to the physical circumstances and appearances of others in order to hear them, care about them, and minister to the needs of their souls. It isn’t a natural occurrence either, but must be purposed.
When I started my home with my husband, the Lord put it into my heart to minister without blindness to the souls whatever soul the Lord put on my heart. All are broken. That is how my Savior sees them. So that is how I must see them as well.
I have given aid to dear folks on the street to the happy families of means and found the more invested I became in those lives, the more similar they all were. Putting blinders on to the physical has allowed me to see that all souls are full of needs, sins, and troubles.
One does not have to be well versed in Scripture, wealthy, or qualified in any way to reach out in kindness to someone. I do not have to be a pastor’s wife to send a note of encouragement and some cookies to a pastor’s wife. I do not have to be wealthy to take a meal to a family who could easily afford to order in. I do no have to be a working mom, or even smart, to ask a businesswoman in our church how her week is going. I do not have to have a happy home to bless a family with flowers for their new baby. I do not have to be perfectly well, or even young to reach out with regular conversations to encourage a newly married young woman.
How many neglected heart’s are out there, untouched because we cannot see past a person’s good circumstances and into the soul. We truly blind ourselves to circumstances and look deeper into each dear soul with whom we are connected.