I write with a heavy heart. Some of us are prone to greater depths of pain – even over things which would roll off the steel-plated backs of others. Thankfully, among those of us who struggle more deeply and more frequently, we have solace in an all-sufficient God. If anyone could’ve escaped from the world’s burdens, it would’ve been him. Yet he identifies himself (pre-incarnation) as compassionate (Ex 22:27). During the incarnation of Jesus not merely as a proclaimer of good news to the poor (Isa 61:1), but who had “borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (53:4) and became “a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” (53:3). Who better to minister to hurting people.
It matters not whether our griefs are self-inflicted because ultimately it’s all a product of the fall which we’re all responsible for. Even so, the Triune God cares about those afflicted by their own folly, directly or indirectly, and decided to minister among us.
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”Matthew 11:28-29, ESV
I think about all the wounds I have been inflicted with and been inflicted with. All the heaviness of heart and the burdens heavy and high. We do not come to words, brothers. We come to a living Savior who ministers through a living word. A humbled man and broken man may, later, forget his sorrows and fail to empathize, but Jesus never forgets his earthly groans while in heaven.
So we, men and women called by God, we are ministers all (Eph 4:12). Ministers of reconciliation, first between God and man (2 Cor 5:19). Once reconciled vertically we work out the effects of that reconciliation amongst one another since we are reconciled together as a family (2 Corinthians 5:20-21).
The God who redeems, after all, redeems in the midst of broken heartedness that he promises to bind up. We who are called to be binders up. How better to learn to be soul-paramedics than to be broken ourselves and bound by God and one another?
I am broken, shattered even. Yet God promises through his word that this is a great qualifier for ministering to the shattered.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction…
If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.2 Cor 1:3, 6.
While my affliction is mostly self-inflicted, the God of all comforts will still comfort me in my affliction that I may be a better minister to any who are in affliction.
May Christ be glorified, and may the whole earth both see and rejoice in it by his Gospel of grace.