unless they have put them on and walked a mile or two.
How encouraging it is to know that while we might not be able to put on another person’s shoes and walk in them, we can help provide comfort and protection along the roads that God allows them to travel on.
Just as socks protect the feet that fit inside the shoes, we, as children of God, can help protect the hearts and souls of one another. Encouraging words, helpful deeds, compassionate hearts to listen and hear, acceptance of one another, and non-judgmental attitudes of the situations and circumstances that others must bear all can help protect the hearts and souls of those that God allows our lives to intersect with.
As I contemplate all of the ways that we can offer comfort and encouragement to one another, my mind pauses to rest and reflect on what I know to be absolute truth. I can feel the lump rise up in my throat as I thank God for giving up His one and only Son Jesus Christ so that we, His Precious Children, might have intimate personal relationship with Him.
Through prayer we can ask G0d for His Power, His healing, His comfort, His wisdom, His knowledge, His good and perfect will for our lives and the lives of those that we know and even those that we have never even met.
Prayer is the most powerful weapon and protection that there is. Through the power of intercessory prayer and heartfelt encouragement we can help protect, comfort and encourage those who must walk for miles on difficult, painful, ongoing, or uncertain roads. It is our prayers for those that we know and even those we do not that can be effective in keeping the enemy of our soul, Satan, who longs to destroy the hearts and souls of the traveler and make it grow cold towards God, towards others and even towards itself, from being effective with his lies and traps and detours that keep his children from living a life that is victorious, joyous and free in Christ.
How encouraging to know that we, if we choose to, can be used like warm, comfortable, protective socks for the weary, worn out, and overwhelmed hearts and souls that need protection from the enemy and encouragement from others to continue putting one foot in front of the other and continuing to walk forward in Faith trusting God to show them the way.
It is helpful for all of us to remember that allowing others to walk too many miles alone without compassion, encouragement and protection from the enemy through prayer and intercession, can cause blisters and wounds on the heart and soul that, if left unattended, can blister, break open, get infected and then ooze with anger, unforgiveness, and bitterness. Much like a foot might do if it walks too many miles without the protection of comfortable and appropriate socks.
So many times I have heard God whisper to my heart to stop what I am doing and take some time to be there for someone. How does He do this? Well, I will be minding my own business taking care of what I need to do and suddenly for no reason at all He places someones name in my mind and I wind up thinking about them. Or, I see someone and this thought comes into my mind out of nowhere that seems to whisper to me….do this, say this, smile, give them a note of encouragement etc.
I have even had tears well up in my eyes and slip down my cheeks when I see someone who I know is having a hard time. I have come to believe that those are God’s tears for that child of His and He uses our hearts and our tears to get us to act on behalf of Him. I know that this momentary pain in my heart that I feel for them is nothing compared to the depth of the love and compassion and sorrow that God has for that child of His who is struggling and hurting inside trying to get through the difficulties of their life in the strength of themselves.
I have to admit that I used to run from it for it hurt my heart to think of the pain that they must be dealing with and I could just pass it off with the thought that there wasn’t really anything I could do about it anyway. The gift of living through incredible loss is that you realize what a gift prayer, comfort, and encouragement are. It changes who you are if you allow it to. I now offer up a prayer for them or smile at them or stop to lend a hand in some seemingly insignificant way or give them a small card that tells them that God Loves them. I carry these small encouragement cards with me to pass along to people who God whispers for me to reach out to. I listen for His voice and usually I write a short note to them, something to let them know how special and loved they are. I do not always listen and do what He asks me to, but I try to.
What have you heard God whisper to your heart recently? He knows His children and He knows exactly what each of them need. Perhaps if each of us thought of that smile or hug or text or note or phone call or random act of kindness as God using us to be like a warm sock for the heart and soul of one of His children and not as an interruption of our purposes and plans, this world would not have so many people, even Christians, oozing with the ugliness of anger and bitterness and unforgiveness and hurting one another because of their pain.
My heart aches as I am reminded of all of the pain in this world and of all of those who go through each day without seeing or feeling any of it, for they are too focused on themselves. I know I cannot change the world but I can do my part, will you?
I take space on this piece of paper to offer up a prayer for all of us. I know He hears the cries of our hearts and He answers them. May God whisper to the hearts of His children and show them where they might need to be that comfort and protection for the worn and weary travelers that are all around us each and every day of our lives.
Lord God thank You for all of the people who You have put in our lives. Thank You for what they show us, for what they teach us and how they minister the power of Your Spirit to us. As we go about our days please help us to be like warm, encouraging, comfortable loving socks for the hearts and souls of our families, our friends, and those that we meet on the paths that you have prepared for us. Help us to listen even when we don’t want to or don’t feel like we have the time to.
Help us to be compassionate and to find the words, the words you would have us to speak, that we might encourage others as they walk in the shoes that you have allowed to be on their feet for this part of the journey they are on. Help us to remember that we must be compassionate and understanding to all that we meet even if what they say and do make absolutely no sense to us and we catch ourselves silently thinking in our heads that if we were in their shoes we wouldn’t be acting or reacting like them. Forgive us Lord God when we think that way. Help us see others through Your eyes and not ours. Help us to Lean Not on Our Own Understanding but to Trust You.