I remember it well—I was a useless person, able to do nothing but stare vacantly out to space or repeat myself ad nauseam about the traumatic loss I had just suffered. But my friend didn’t care. She simply sat with me day after day and listened compassionately as this verbal processor worked her way through the Valley of Weeping. And I found rest in her presence.
Years later, I became suddenly ill in Japan with a very scary eye infection. The doctors didn’t know how bad things might get or what kind of permanent vision loss might result. Once again, the Lord provided caring and compassionate friends who didn’t mind my tears, my rambling and anxious words, my inability to see the needs of others. They knew this Valley of Weeping was temporary, but while I walked through it, they let me know I was not alone. And I found rest in their presence.
We often talk about being the hands and feet of Jesus—as we should—but do we realize we can also be part of the rest He offers? We can give people Jesus’ rest when we take time to journey with them through the valley, allowing them to share their anxieties, grief, and pain. By not forcing them to leap to a sudden mountain top of victory, we acknowledge that their suffering is real and that it is indeed a journey to healing, whether it’s a wound of the heart, of the body, or a combination of both. It is not a sin to be weary, to be anxious, to grieve, to suffer. We will often be wounded in this world, even as our Lord was. The victory comes when we respond to Jesus’ invitation to come, to sit with Him in our pain, and to allow Him to minister to our weary bodies and souls.
Please pray with me that the Japanese church would become a place where the weary and wounded can find the rest that Jesus offers. Pray that local and foreign believers here would be known for being people who are willing to sit with those who suffer and to be safe places for suffering people to share what’s on their hearts. May we be people who help lead others into the rest that Jesus so wonderfully provides.
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11: 28)
By Christina, OMF missionary