"As soon as Jesus heard the news, He went off by Himself in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where He was headed and followed by land from many villages. A vast crowd was there as He stepped from the boat, and He had compassion on them and healed their sick."
- Matthew 14:13-14 NLT
Recently, I went through some very difficult times that threatened to overwhelm me physically and emotionally. I must admit that there were moments when I had that "lay down and die" attitude. If it weren't for God impressing upon me some very definite strategies for getting through these times, I don't know how I would have made it at all. As always, I was clinging to God and His Word. I was praying constantly and standing on His promises of hope. But I still felt myself slipping into a pit of despair. Then the Lord directed me to "get busy." Doing little tasks around the house helped me somewhat, but what really made the difference was getting busy reaching out to others. On purpose, I began looking for ways to be a blessing to those around me. Suddenly, it was easier to keep my mind off of myself and my own problems. It proved to be some of the best medicine for me.
When we're going through hard times, it's tempting to want to keep ourselves on our minds all the time. And that's one of Satan's most effective weapons against us. But if we will purposefully get our minds off of ourselves and onto others, we will experience the freedom and healing that we need most during these times. God wants to be our Problem Solver. He doesn't want us preoccupied with trying to solve our own problems. He'd rather have us concentrate on helping others solve THEIR problems. As we reach out to others, God will reach out to us.
Matthew records that when Jesus heard the news of John the Baptist's death, He went off by Himself to be alone. But the Savior obviously didn't dwell on His grief for very long because He was soon reaching out to others with compassion. (Matthew 14:13-14) We, too, need to reach out to others with the love of God when we're hurting. Focusing on our wounds will only pull us deeper into a pit of despair. But setting our minds and hearts on blessing those around us will lift us above our circumstances and position us to receive relief and reward from the Lord!
Prayer: Lord, the next time I'm going through a trial, help me to resist focusing on my own troubles and pain. Instead, show me how to reach out to others with Your love and compassion. Make me sensitive to the needs of people around me who are hurting. Thank You that as I get busy helping others with their problems, You'll get busy helping me with mine!
- J. M. Farro