How many times do we ask someone how they are doing . . . not really expecting an honest answer? Not really wanting a detailed evaluation of their life. An exposition on all the good and great things. A diatribe of woes. A litany of unanswered questions. Or heaven forbid . . . descriptions of physical pain?

For those things are often the untouchables of our ‘together’ society. Those things when shared equal a show of weakness, emotionally or even spiritually. Some would go so far as to say that whining about problems equals a ‘lack of faith’ which stands as an obstacle to compete healing. Others may imply that our descriptions of pain are overblown, our grief out of line, or our emotional problems our own making.

How sad. How tragic, for believers, Christ-followers, to decide another’s level of suffering or to dismiss those invisible strikes on human lives. For our emotions, our brains, and our physical bodies harbor much that is unseen by the human eye. And if it cannot be seen, many prescribe it can’t be real. Or if real, surely it must be beyond our comprehension, so don’t bother us by telling us about it.

Our Lord Jesus rather spent His days walking into the suffering of others. Touching the hurting. Reaching out to the outcast. Picking up the ‘tossed out’ people of his society. Loving the sinners. Applauding those who were honest about their questions, fears and pain.

Standing in solidarity to all humankind, Jesus bore our sorrows, felt our pain.

Jesus sat down with, walked beside, shared meals, lived among, wept over, talked to, asked about, listened to, and gave his full attention to those who were hurting.

I imagine Him asking someone how they were doing, then sitting down beside them, shutting out the rest of the world, perhaps drawing in the sand, hanging on their every word. Answering their questions. Caring about them and the things of their lives. Praying for them. Loving them. Bringing them into the very presence of God Almighty . . . and helping them experience the gift of being valued, being heard, and being loved.

We talk about loving others. We love others in a myriad of ways.

But the next time someone actually answers your question about how they are doing, don’t be surprised when Jesus shows up . . . and asks you to show up with Him.

I know I have chosen to be real in many of my posts. Please know I don’t do so without a bit of trepidation and fear of what some might think.

But I am compelled to do so out of a heart of gratitude for those friends who let me be real. Who ask how I am doing, what I am struggling with . . . and expect me to answer. Who listen to my answers, ever validating, never condemning, and ever loving me to the Lord.

I do so with the hope and prayers that others might be given voice. Might find value in one who walks some of the same pathways.

But mostly, I choose to be real in hopes that others might find a lifeline to our Lord Jesus and His never ending supply of patient grace and everlasting love.

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