One of the Most Powerful Things I've Seen
A few years back, when we were joyfully and intimately involved with a church that met in the back carport of a motel, we met a guy named Jon.
Jon (not his real name) was:
-bound to a wheelchair
-fully paralyzed on the left side of his body from head to toe
-part-time homeless, full-time hopeless, sometimes pulled enough money together to get a motel room for a short stint
-⅔ drunk, ⅓ chain smoker
-spit on and ridiculed by a local bully (who’s story I will share another time)
-riddled with Bed Bug bites all over his body
-majorly marginalized by the world
-And, one of the sweetest, gentlest human beings I’ve ever met
Jon’s story, still to this day, doesn’t have a sweet bow wrapped around it. I wish this story ended with Jon fully healed and now a pastor to his community, but that’s not how it always goes.
Jon obviously needed an overwhelming amount of help, in all areas. What could that look like? No one could meet all of Jon’s needs. No one could free him from all of his emotional, physical, and spiritual wounds, except Jesus. Thankfully, that is Jesus’ job, and please agree in Jesus’ name for complete healing for Jon right now!
We are in a 10000minutes series on the “One Anothers” in the Bible, and we are finishing up 3 weeks on the specific invitation to bear with one another. Last week we practiced this by putting up with each other and praying for our enemies. This week we are talking about the other half of the word to bear with.
To bear with = to hold up, support, lift up until natural growth occurs.
My brother-in-law Ben, who was living with us at the time, taught me a lesson that I will never forget. Ben was a huge part of that church community with us. One day he came home and told us that he had been at Jon’s room helping him with his Bed Bug situation. After seeing the hundreds of red bites all over Jon’s body and knowing how easily they transfer to others, I will admit that I was conflicted. Ben said that he was going to go over to Jon’s room everyday for 2 weeks, bath him and clean his room with special cleaners. And so he did. For 2 weeks, everyday, Ben went over and re-presented Jesus in that room, in that bath, and to the whole community.
This story is a beautiful picture of bearing with one another. Ben couldn’t heal Jon, but he could bear with him, while praying for healing and deliverance. The Biblical image for bearing with is the little stick that is used to hold up a plant that needs support until it is ready to live on it’s own, until it’s roots are deep enough to get all of the nutrients it needs.
Who needs you to bear with them, hold them up, support them, wrap them with courage, re-present Jesus to them?
Remember in 1 Peter 2, we are told that Jesus himself Bore (same word as to bear with) our sins. Yup, it’s the same word. Think about it! What if Jesus took the sins and weights out of our hands so that our hands were free enough to lift one another’s burdens? People, this is an order! This is the great invitation. At the end of my favorite passage in John 15, Jesus invites us Branches who are attached to Him, the Vine, to go and love one another!
Who is Jesus inviting you to bear with in this next season? Let’s start looking and listening this week. This is our 10000minutes practice:
BEAR WITH ONE ANOTHER this week!