This afternoon I went to the hospital to visit a friend who was shot in a drive-by shooting this weekend. She’s alive (thank God) but the bullet went through her side and her bladder. The doctors don’t think there should be any long-term damage, but she had surgery and will be in the hospital for a while.
I grieved a lot for her when I heard, for the pain that she’s in and the violence in her life. It mixed in with grief for another dear friend who, along with her young kids, is currently homeless and living in a hotel because of the spiraling cycle of self-destruction she has been careening down for a while, and grief for a family member who just announced, mere days after her daughter’s birth, that her husband no longer wants to live with her as her husband.
These are heavy things. They make me want to cry. To kick something. To shake my fist at the devil. Most of all, they make me want to do something, to fix everything. But I am powerless to fix any of this.
As I was talking to the Lord about all this yesterday morning, He reminded me of Matthew 25, specifically verse 36 where the King says to the blessed ones, “When I was sick you visited me.” With that reminder came the tender invitation to come and be with Him in this place, to visit Him in this place of suffering, to be His friend in these places where He grieves, too. I don’t even know what that looks like, really, but I was overwhelmed with the reality of His nearness to me and to them in these places.
And I realized that the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25:31-46 has nothing to do with a list of religious “do’s” to gain God’s favor; it’s a sweet invitation to be with Jesus in those places, with “the least of these”, because we are blessed by the nearness of God in those places.
Abba, bring me face to face with You in all this!