Climbing Out of the “Ivory Tower”

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Do you ever feel that you that you have become calloused to the pain of others? I certainly have. Sometimes when life is going great I like to pretend that I’m in a bubble and don’t want to hear about the rest of the problems of the world. During these happy moments I don’t want to watch the news to see the children suffering and the police wars. Notice I said happiness instead of joy. I think the joy of Christ is steady and contagious. Joy is not based on circumstances but on the steadiness and unchanging nature of Christ. When I’m in a state of ice-cream euphoria I’m also less likely to truly listen to another friend’s struggle. I might be present in body but not truly empathizing and sympathizing with their pain.
“A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn , and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones ,and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.” Ecclesiastes 3:3-5.

When I’m walking through a trying moment, ( trivial or something more heartbreaking and life altering) I avoid World News and any hint of sadness in anyone else’s life. It makes me feel helpless to see starving children or families shattered because of bombs. I feel like I am drowning in a state of helplessness because I know I can’t cure the world of its sorrow. Instead of looking to Jesus and bringing the politicians, hurting children, or the stressed friend to Him in prayer I put up walls of stone, blocking out any feelings of love or empathy. I remember one time in my life when I was crawling through a heartbreak. The family was watching the news during dinner. Usually I love watching David Muir reporting on the news of the world and making cities on the map real and personable. But that night, I had to choke just to get my hot soup down. It was the day of the shooting in Nevada. As I watched the terror play out on the television my own heartbreak seemed magnified. I watched in horror as people ducked for cover trying to avoid the bullets that flew from the hotel window. In a strange way, I felt like I was ducking for cover too, trying to avoid bullets of rejection.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. “James 1:2-4.

For a few years I only watched comedy, steering away from tear jerkers and chick flicks. But you know watching comedy and ignoring the pain of the world does not make it go away.

“We can try to persuade ourselves that evil doesn’t exist; live for ourselves and wink at evil. We can say that it isn’t so bad after all, maybe even try to call it fun by clothing it in silks and velvets. We can compromise with it, keep quiet about it and say it’s none of our business. Or we can work on God’s side, listen for His orders on the strategy against evil, no matter how horrible it is, and know that He can transform it.”
Ms. Alice from Christy by Catherine Marshall pg. 103.

I can also shut my ears and eyes spiritually. I can pretend that Hell is not real and refuse to speak about Jesus and the Gospel. Ouch. I can shut my ears, eyes, and heart and pretend not to see the suffering in the eyes of the girl next to me. I can shut my ears and eyes and pretend that my sin doesn’t affect or hurt anyone including God.
But living with my eyes shut and my ears closed doesn’t produce the fruit that is necessary for one of God’s children. I cannot grow and be a godly example if I refuse to see and hear the pain of those around me. My apathy proves to those that don’t know Christ that Christianity is all about me. I must ask God to take my hands off my eyes and that He would guide my feet, so I can act to do His will. Am I willing for God to break my heart at the pain of others? Am I willing to feel helpless at the sorrow of others? While it’s frustrating feeling helplessly heartbroken it is a way of giving control to Him. I must give God the heartache of all my friends and the pain of the world.

“Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7.

Jesus Himself refused to stop His ears and close His eyes. Rather Jesus opened His heart and allowed it to bleed for you and me. When Jesus died on the cross, paying our sin debt He had to leave the comforts and security of Heaven. Jesus could have stayed in Heaven and ignored the sinfulness of people, but instead He chose to pay the price He knew we couldn’t pay. In Mark 6 when Jesus saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion and did something about it. Jesus fed the multiples and began to teach them about Himself.

“And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like a sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.” Mark 6:34.

He didn’t simply feed them food for their physical body but also food for the soul. (Lysa Terkeurst/Uninvited) This was right after John the Baptist was beheaded. Jesus must have been grieving. He was going to go to a quiet place to rest and maybe mourn. Mark 6:30. But instead He had compassion on the multitudes and made a difference. Wow. Jesus chose to heal others in the midst of His own sorrow. Yes, Jesus is completely God, but while He was on earth He was human too. Jesus understands what it is like to grieve. Yet, Jesus still chose to step outside of His grief and feed a multitude. I cannot ease the aches of those around me on my own, but Jesus can. First I must ask God to take my eyes off myself and see the suffering of others. I cannot make a godly impact unless I am willing to see pain and am willing to trust Jesus, the only healer of our souls.

God, give me the strength to walk in your ways and make a difference. Give me eyes to see the pain around me. I cannot help those around me. Only You can Lord. But I am willing to be used by You.

“It was God who was prying the little girl’s hands off her eyes. As if He was saying, ‘I can’t use ivory tower followers. They’re plaster of paris, they crumble and fall apart in life’s press. So, you’ve got to see life the way it really is before you can do anything about evil. You cannot vanquish it. I can. But in My world the battle against evil has to be joint endeavor. You and Me. I, God in you, can have the victory every time. ‘After that He was always right there beside me, looking at the dreadful sights with compassion and love and heartbreak. His caring and His love were to real for bitterness to grow in me.”

Ms. Alice from Christy. pg 101-102.

If you are hurting tonight, run to Jesus. Cry out to Him. Give Him your grief, your pain, your joys, and your beautiful memories. Allow Him to cradle your heart in His. ❤ ❤

 

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