In my few months as a Pastor I have learned and experienced just a very little bit about hurting for the sake of others. The helpless feeling when someone you care about is hurting. Where there is nothing you or them can really do so you simply sit and hurt/pray/mourn/cry/rage/laugh/reminisce with them.
I’ve done a lot of that this week for my brothers and sisters. A friend going through a divorce. A friend whose mother died quickly and far too early. A friend whose wife got a bad report from a doctor.
From my 27 year old, healthy, happy, absurdly blessed vantage point I see small mercies in each situation. I truly believe I see God in each situation. But I still hurt for them. I pray for them. And I wonder if they feel it. I wonder not where the prayers go to but what God does with them. I wonder, in the eternal scale of existence, what those prayers mean. The divorce is irreversible. The death of my friend’s mother is permanent. The health of my friends wife will deteriorate significantly, be it quickly or slowly.
I remember reading Charles Williams in college. I remember he said something about how we should not carry our own burdens but our brothers and sister should carry ours for us and we in turn carry theirs. So we, the body of believers, form an interconnected web, where none of us are called to bear our own burdens of this life, but are completely upheld by those who surround us even as we uphold them.
I hope (although i do not claim to know for certain) that as my soul aches for these brothers and sisters, as I open myself on their behalf just a bit and the prayers of my heart escape, that in some measure these whom I love are upheld by their God and their hurt is lessened to some minor degree.