Coming alongside to lift burdens

By Angela Barfield - Your pastor speaks

We love because he first loved us. ~ 1 John 4:19

I began writing this article before the coronavirus pandemic, and God has again shown his perfect timing in sharing the importance of caregiving! There are many examples in the Bible of Jesus ‘coming alongside’ someone, to support, to comfort and to provide for a need. He has an advantage that we do not possess, in that He already knows every need. Believers are called to be a reflection of Him, and in doing that, we are also to be prepared to help others in areas of their need. While we do not know all things, we are to be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and to step in when needed. I am blessed to work with many people who exemplify this command in their everyday lives, whether as a family member, friend or medical worker.

‘It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding’. -Kahlil Gibran

I personally have had times when others have come alongside when I needed help, and have done so without my prompting. Many years ago, my oldest daughter was diagnosed with leukemia at age 10, and this began the most difficult two years of my family’s life. Several of our neighbors graciously stepped up to help with my younger two daughters by taking them to school and keeping them when I had to take our oldest to her treatments. Our church family provided meals on a regular schedule, and prayer for our family, which, in looking back I see their reflection of Christ in many areas! So often, when we are in the midst of struggles, we can see God’s hand when we look back at the timing of everything. This shows us that there was no earthly way that we could claim credit for everything falling into place.

Whenever someone has a need, I love to watch how these become areas where someone is blessed by answering the call to serve. We all have different gifts and talents, and God uses these to minister to the needs of others- and they do not go unnoticed. We may feel that we are imposing on another’s time, or that we can suffer through as the martyrs did. However, this refusal can steal the joy of one wanting to help, by not allowing them to be a blessing in responding to a call to serve. We learn through the giving and the receiving of help and these lessons can be used in future service- nothing is wasted!

As we receive blessings, we are more aware of the meeting of a need and of the work of Christ being done. This is an expression of His love, through us or to us, in becoming His hands and feet here on earth. Please be encouraged in using your gifts, and being sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to know when we are to serve. ‘Coming alongside’ helps to lift the burden off the shoulders, or at least share those burdens, by lightening the load when those who need help are weary. This is a timely message for us as we enter these uncertain days.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. ~ 1 John 4:7

By Angela Barfield

Your pastor speaks

The writer is the Wilson Health Hospice chaplain.

The writer is the Wilson Health Hospice chaplain.