Can we slip easy into the shoes of another?

See life from their perspective and leave our own preconceptions behind.

Maybe discover, like a child stepping into an adult’s shoes, that it looks exciting but feels quite precarious. Or be surprised by the commonality we share.

Stepping into another person’s life ~ using our God-given imaginations and empathy ~ will soon reveal things very similar to our own, in spite of vastly differing circumstances.

Suffering and adversity are universal, though they are not easily measurable.

One person’s tragedy is another’s light and momentary trouble. We all have our individual sinking points and ways of reacting to them.

It is often those who say little (or nothing), yet offer to sit in the ashes with us, who make us feel less alone. Hugs can speak volumes, as can shared tears.

I used to think greater resilience grew from multiplicity of trials. Maybe it does for some.

Much depends on the severity and duration of challenging circumstances. My experience is more like the camel’s back breaking under the strain.

And yet, the ‘last straw’ a human frame can handle is just the starting point for God to enter in.

When I have surrendered situations beyond my control (isn’t everything, at heart?) to God, then He supplies all I require to not only keep my head above water but to swim confidently in His river of grace.

“This circumstantial wilderness is a terrible, frightening, and dangerous place; but I also believe it’s a place of beauty” ~ Eugene H. Peterson ‘Leap Over A Wall’

C.S Lewis wrote about being Surprised by Joy’ when he recounted his coming to faith experiences.

I’m slowly discovering it is possible to be surprised by joy in the darkest of places.

Beauty comes forth from ashes.

Faith strengthens when we feel the fear and ‘do it afraid’.

Hope springs out of helplessness.

“Believe that the deepest afflictions are neighbours to the highest joy” ~ Charles Spurgeon

It sounds like an enormous effort of will to find cheer in the midst of difficulties and problems. I’m gradually seeing that our part is to simply rest and trust in God’s promises:

“Those who sow in tears, will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” ~ Psalm 126:5 – 6

Those seeds we sow?  ~ faith, love, kindness, encouragement etc ~  may seem tiny and insubstantial, but God will produce an abundant harvest in our lives at just the right time.

There is joy in knowing this too shall pass; we are helped, comforted and strengthened by the One who holds us fast, just as He also holds all things together and works in them for our good.

We can rest in knowing God has got us covered. We can be surprised by how well He cares for us in the darkest of circumstances.

We can give thanks, not for the circumstances, but in them, trusting God to keep us safe and see us through.

” I asked God for strength, that I might achieve, I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for health, that I might do greater things, I was given infirmity, that I might do better things. I asked for riches, that I might be happy, I was given poverty, that I might be wise. I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men, I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life, I was given life, that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I had hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am among all men, most richly blessed.” ~ An unknown soldier in the American Civil War

“Awareness of My Face shining upon you can instill Joy into the most difficult day” ~ Sarah Young ‘Jesus Today’

Dear Father,

So many of us are struggling right now. Life is challenging and hearts ache heavy. We need a sense of perspective as much as we need Your healing touch. Help us to see how very close You are, always ready to comfort, encourage and bless, full of mercy, grace and forgiveness.

Your hand is not too short to reach down and pull us out of any pit we may have fallen into, even those of our own making. We need to be aware of Your presence with us, hear the soft whisper of Your voice, sense how near and dear we are to You as Your beloved children.

Grant us encouragement from Your word, the ability to receive all we need to revive flagging spirits, lift weary heads, ignite hope, restore joy, bring rest and peace.

Help us to realise these seasons may seem never ending but they will come to their own conclusion in Your perfect timing. And as we co-operate with You in coming through them we will be able to see the lessons learnt along the way.

Enable and equip us to sit alongside our brother and sisters in faith who are suffering and offer them the same comfort, help and strength you have given to us.

Joining with encouraging friends Holley, LyliJennifer and Mel