Pain levels rising, my phone text message began. And they were . . . near nausea, tears barely held at bay. Demanding, consuming pain, I was held captive from within.

Trying to regain hold on my mind. Think of something, anything, else. But all I could do was beg for mercy, for relief . . . and begin a text message to those who care and would pray alongside me for relief, whether by healing or God’s sustaining grace. (Both of which I have experienced and both of which are God’s answers to His children who suffer.)

I wondered as I typed, was I being too much of a burden to those who had heard this plea before? I checked my spirit to see if I was running to friends before I ran to my Lord, but an immediate answer from Him soothed my soul. My text was stemming from my prayers. And my Lord reminded me that to go it alone can smack of a very prideful and independent nature – ‘I can do it myself, Mommy,’ my 2 year old used to defiantly proclaim. ‘Lord, I can do it myself,’ should never be part of my vocabulary.

My Lord reminded me sometimes it is okay to lean on others. Allow them to be the mercy and love of Christ to me, even as I should do the same for them. And oh how across the years of my life, so many have graciously reflected the love of my Savior in the most trying of life’s circumstances.

And while it is never good to seek humans in place of God – for ultimately, God is the only One who satisfies and sustains us, gives grace in time of need, and helps us overcome – there are times God chooses to care for, carry, or fill us in tangible ways through others. The Scriptures give us directions:

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength . . . Romans 15:1

. . . we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:4

And so my text went on . . . pain levels are rising but my heart is secure. My Lord is near . . . and at that point, I was impressed to stop. Stop asking others to pray for me and begin to pray for another – a specific individual who lives daily, hourly, in great pain. To ask God to leave my pain and take that person’s, giving relief in a seemingly hopeless situation. Bring peace to that heart. Be immanent, present with, in inexplicable ways. Bring healing, O God, if you will. But whether that is now, today or in eternity, I beg you to be with your child. Transcend the human realm of physical, and the often ensuing emotional, pain. Sustain that precious one’s soul . . . .

Now mind you, I am not a martyr. Not even up near the letter ‘s’ in saint. But I am God’s child. I have known God’s presence and sustenance and grace, and I want desperately for others in pain to know the same . . .

The strangest thing, as I was praying I realized that something was different. I had become unaware of pain levels that had been screaming, consuming for most of the day. Pain that had been disallowing me the ability to concentrate or function in the tasks that lay before me . . . .

Oh God, my Rock and my Redeemer, be with your Body, your people as they cry out to you. Heal. Sustain. Strengthen and empower us, no matter how we feel or what we face. Help us to humble ourselves before you. To focus on you and you alone. To praise your Holy Almighty, Transcendent yet very Immanent Name.

And oh God, make us conduits through whom you pour out your living, sustaining presence to each other.

Amen and amen.