Luke 10:25-27 KJV reads:
- “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; AND THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF.
- And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
- And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain PRIEST that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a LEVITE, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
- But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he HAD COMPASSION ON HIM, And WENT TO HIM, and BOUND UP HIS WOUNDS, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and TOOK CARE OF HIM. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
- Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed MERCY on him. Then said Jesus unto him, GO, AND DO THOU LIKEWISE.”
Now the Jews were God’s chosen people and those with whom he had covenant. Interestingly, unlike the Samaritan who was considered from the Old Testament days to be an outcast to the Jews, the Priest and the Levite were brothers spiritually to the man who was wounded, as like them, he too was a Jew. He had been accosted on his way from Jerusalem, a place in Israel. Also, although the Priest and the Levite held positions as Jews that meant that they were versed in their knowledge of the law and in particular, the command to love their neighbour as themselves, when the time came for this love to be demonstrated, when it was most needed, they passed on the other side.
By analogy, I’ve been thinking: Like the man who went to Jericho, there are some wounded soldiers in the body of Christ. They’ve been through all sorts of trials, hurt and pain and life has left them feeling lonely, gasping for air and half-dead.
It is easy to say that it serves them right, that they should have never started the journey to Jericho and that you would have never made such a poor choice. Yet, while they certainly should have never ventured down that road and many of them have sorrowfully regretted it, you do not know what may have predisposed them to doing it.
Now is not the time to say that they should have never gone down to Jericho in the first place. The fact is, they did and life has dealt them some serious blows on the journey. In retrospect, they agree with you. Deciding to go to Jericho was a bad choice.
By the grace of God though, they are still alive and want badly to recover, to return to Jerusalem. As they lay in their despondency, every cry of their heart and lips with the little strength they have left is to God, for his MERCY and restoration.
They want and need to be healed badly and are in dire need of love, support, prayer, encouragement and strength, on that long road to restoration. They need you to help them pull through because even as they fight to live, the enemy of their soul fights relentlessly, trying to break their will to survive, telling them that it’s no use and that they will die on this lonely road of futility. He tries to hammer this into their psyche by virtue of the severity of the blows they have received at the hands of his minions.
Some of these people have been through battles of such a nature and for so long, that you would never even dream off. You know they were journeying to Jericho but you may not know all the reasons why this was so or why, in a lapse of judgment, they thought at the time, that they needed to go there.
Having been seriously wounded in the process and fighting against the earthly odds to survive, they don’t need your condescension, scorn and rejection, to add to their already wounded state. They don’t need you to stare at them disdainfully, indifferently or coldly at a distance.
Of a truth, some of them have been fighting serious battles against the enemy of their soul from as early as their childhood. For, the enemy figured this was a good time to attack and to sow some destructive seeds because they were too young to defend themselves.
You know something of the wounds inflicted on the way to Jericho but you don’t know the story of the sharp cuts they received in the years preceding, the deep-seated wounds that left troublesome scars which followed them from early childhood, into their adolescence and then as an adult, scars which only God could remove or re-purpose for good. Some have been constantly ridiculed at school, bullied, regularly beat up by other children, made to feel of no worth whatsoever, suffered emotional neglect and seriously damaging psychological, verbal, physical and sexual abuse, at the hands of those commissioned by the enemy, to try to mess up their life story.
I should know, as all of the above was MY story.
I say all of the above to say, that on the whole, life has left some people feeling half-dead and you must make the choice: To walk by on the other side proudly (because you haven’t been through half the hell they have been through) or to show them MERCY, find out where they are hurting, lend a hand, attend to their wounds and help them up again.
Thankfully, the healing of wounded Christian soldiers who cry out to the Lord in their pain is not contingent on man. Even where all forsake them, God, the one who knows their entire story is able to bind up their wounds with oil and wine and to heal them in all the places where they have been injured. The oil represents his Holy Spirit which indwells them and the wine is indicative of the blood of Jesus Christ.
In Jeremiah 30:10, 12-18, the children of Israel and Judah had ended up in a place where they were badly wounded due to wrong choices made in life and practically left for dead. Yet, although God saw to it that they were punished for their sin, in his MERCY and in his love, he did not plan to just leave them there. He told them through his Prophet:
- “ …fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the Lord; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid…For thus saith the Lord, Thy bruise is incurable, and thy wound is grievous. There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines. All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased. Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee.
- Therefore all they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey. For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.
- Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob’s tents, and have mercy on his dwellingplaces; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof.”
Once they were healed and restored, in anticipation of the praise and gratitude that would flow from the heart and lips of these very people who were once so grievously wounded and how he would lavish his love and protection on them, God continued in verses 19-20:
- “And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them.”
(Written on 12th May, 2020)
On 21st November, 2022, at a low patch in my life, which is beginning to seem like the norm, in contemplation of my seemingly never ending employment woes, singleness woes, loneliness woes, neglect and abuse woes, in tears, I wrote:
- “The pain of just being unable to move forward is unbelievable. Feeling forever stuck for decades is debilitating. How is it that I could be in so much pain for so many years and nobody care? Nobody really care? The line of those who wait to ridicule, to point an accusatory finger, to look down at me with disdain, to be malicious, to attack me, to gossip about me is long but when I looked for someone, just one person to take pity, to help me, not in jest or pretence but in genuineness of heart, I found none. Psalm 69:20 has truly been my experience. David, who experienced the pain of desertion, said: “Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.”
On 28th November, 2022, feeling even worse than I did when I wrote what I wrote above and so very tired of it all, I wrote:
- “Sometimes I feel that dying is better than this. The hurt, the pain, the shame, sometimes, most days, it just feels like too much. They all have jobs, a means of bringing in income. They all seem to matter but it doesn’t seem like I do. The pain, the humiliation is unbelievable. I’m expected to fight yet another day, alone, when I have absolutely no more strength. I am drained. I feel like I can’t take this anymore. It’s been years of dealing with this career and job situation, of being rejected left, right and centre and I am not quite sure what to do again. I am so tired of life in general. There has been so much accusation, ridicule, gossip, condescension, all the while, my heart bled. My heart still bleeds! I’m scared!
- Nobody could ever know what it feels like to be pounding against doors for years and nobody wants to let you in, nobody cares to genuinely help, nobody wants what you have to offer. I’ve sought jobs in my industry and outside of my industry, all sorts of jobs, yet nothing. I have opened two businesses over the years and so far, they both have failed. I have stood ready to do the work but people don’t want the services, at least not from me. One business I therefore closed and the other one, I am considering doing the same.
- There are days where I try to muster up strength and remember who I am in Christ but there are days where I feel absolutely worthless. Why are the doors shut? Why have I faced so much career turbulence? Why are the gates padlocked? If I had been a lazy worker, then maybe I could have understood. If I acted dishonestly when employed in the past or turned my back on God and did things that displeased or dishonoured him on the job, I could have understood why this area poses such a challenge for me. I would be undoubtedly reaping what I had sown. But perhaps what hurts me the most is that I have a track record of diligence, of hard work and of integrity. Why is it that although I am industrious at heart, ambitious and have kept my integrity all the years that I did work, no matter the opposition, that I am now shut out like this?
- Of all the areas in my life that I could be shamed and deserve to be made ashamed, why this area, where all I’ve done throughout the years when gainfully employed is seek to please my Lord with a good work ethic and with honest behaviour on the job site, in his sight?
- This has made what I have been going through, all the more painful, as I don’t understand why the Lord has targeted this area, to allow turbulence in my life.
- It has been three years since I obeyed his call to leave my last job because it required me to compromise on my faith. I have suffered blows for it, even as I did with past jobs that I had to separate from. I obeyed, yet I was met with disdain, insults, accusations, attacks and of course, malicious put downs and gossip.
- I have been declared (although it is not true), as lazy, not wanting to work, choosing to remain unemployed, a free loader and so much more. I have often wandered, Lord, why is it, when you know the truth are you allowing me to be so discredited? I don’t have the answers but I know that even when I don’t understand and it hurts so, God knows exactly what he is doing.
- I understand that, yet my heart bleeds. Everyday it bleeds. Show me one person on earth that cares for my soul, that truly cares for how I’m feeling and how I’m hurting. Show me one person that understands or that has taken the time to chat with me to try to understand and you would have shown me a lot.
- Imagine having a door shut for years and years, no matter what you do and all that people can do is snicker and badmouth you and laugh at you and throw insults your way. You’ve been doing everything you can think of to escape this ‘prison’, yet the harder you try and pray and fast and cry, the more people accuse you of liking it in that prison and cry shame on you for not coming out of it.
- They don’t realize that God is keeping the doors shut and that whenever he shuts doors, we are helpless to open them. Job in the Bible, understood what this feels like. He said to those that he declared to be miserable comforters:
- “How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words? These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me. And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself. If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me my reproach: KNOW NOW that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net. Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment. HE hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths. HE hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head. HE hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree. HE hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies. His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle. HE hath put MY BRETHREN FAR FROM ME, and MINE ACQUAINTANCE ARE VERILY ESTRANGED FROM ME. MY KINSFOLK HAVE FAILED, and MY FAMILIAR FRIENDS HAVE FORGOTTEN ME… All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are TURNED AGAINST ME…
- Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; FOR THE HAND OF GOD HATH TOUCHED ME. Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh? OH THAT MY WORDS WERE NOW WRITTEN! OH THAT THEY WERE PRINTED IN A BOOK! THAT THEY WERE GRAVEN WITH AN IRON PEN AND LEAD IN THE ROCK FOR EVER!” (Job 19:1-14; 19-24)
- I don’t wish what I have been going through, on my worst enemy. There are days when I remember and hold fast to the truth which is that the joy of the Lord is my strength but then there are those days when, starved for encouragement and support, I feel absolutely worthless. On those days, I hear ‘worthless’ as soon as I awake. I think, here is another day to be reminded of how much I’ve been rejected in almost all spheres of life!
- Nobody considers themselves to be a poster child for rejection but I am. I am considered not worthy to be loved by other human beings, not worthy to be kind to, not worthy to be cared for and treated right, not worthy to be respected, not worthy to be afforded basic human dignity, not worthy, not worthy, not worthy, is all I ever hear. It seems that I am not worthy to be given decent employment, not worthy to be courted and married, not worthy to have children and be a mother, not worthy to be friends with, just not worthy.
- I have been so rejected in this life, that there are truly days where I wonder why I am even alive. I recently heard of the passing of a guy, who everybody seemed to like. His life seemed promising. He had a small child, a lady in his life that loved him, many friends and was quite popular. Yet, he died. And I have wondered, as I have on other similar occasions, why did God see it fit to end his life that seemed so full of promise and where so many people wanted him around but yet spare mine, someone that almost everyone considers to be so pathetic and useless and someone that of a truth is so undeserving?
- IT MUST BE GRACE. For, people generally treat me like scum, wherever I go and take pride in harassing, ridiculing, belittling, insulting, accusing, fighting against or badmouthing me. Believe it or not, despite all of my problems and issues, there are those who also insist on competing against me. It is laughable at times. Of all the people in the world they could choose to compete against, they have chosen me, someone that is not competing with them and facing a world of problems. Yet, there is something that they see within apparently, that makes them feel the need to compete with me. Even when I consider myself to be as a dead dog, the enemy convinces them to come out and fight against me. There is some light within, planted by the grace of God, that they feel the need to try to dim BUT GOD!
- Despite my problems, how weak and tired I feel and the fact that the world behaves as if I’m already dead, my heart within me, the one that God has given me, begs to differ because it has received instructions from the Lord, to CONTINUE beating. This is why I say, it must be God’s grace.
- Yet, I can find no where to lay my wretched head on this earth. Nobody here wants to lay claim to me. Where am I supposed to go? Where is my space? Where am I supposed to function or to be? I have faced so much rejection for so many years, that I now question, what more am I to do?
- I thought that, having cried for so many years, that I was all cried out, that I had no more tears left but this morning, my eyes surprised me. From somewhere within, a well just flowed. I am crying torrents again.
- I don’t wish this kind of solitary life on anyone, this kind of sterility, this desolation. You all carry on, those enjoying glorious sunshine. No need to be concerned and bothered about the storms that are my daily reality. Most of you haven’t even been through half of the things I’ve been through, from as young as five years old, to date, so you can’t identify and don’t care to try to understand. I have resolved that I’ll just stay here and bleed until God says its time or in his mercy and grace, decides to bind up my wounds, to his honour and glory. I am comforted by the fact that even his bleeding soldiers are in his hands.”
I wrote what I wrote about from a place of deep pain but thankfully, as one Pastor on Caribbean Radio Lighthouse reminded, even if I don’t feel like it or as if anything is happening in my life and that perhaps I am forgotten and forlorn, cast away and rejected as completely pathetic, worthless and insignificant, still, even when I don’t understand what God is doing and want to give up and everyone forsakes me, or casts their noses down at me, the truth remains that “The marred, the scarred, the weary, the worn, God is at work in the life of ALL his children.”
Job had wished that his words could have been captured in a book, so intense was his pain and although he did not know it at the time, God did exactly that, allowing an entire book in the Bible to be written about him. Ironically, my pain is also being documented, in that, when I feel led to write about my experience, I write.
Even as Job declared in his pain, despite all that I have been through and am still going through in this life, by God’s grace, I too can say:
- “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.”
(Addendum written on 21st and 28th November, 2022)