“And He sighed deeply in His spirit…” (Mark 8:12 a.)
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, ….how often I would have gathered your children together, as a hen does gather her brood under her wings, and you would not.” (Luke 13:34)
There are (2) two topics we would like to discuss in this article. The first is keeping or guarding one’s heart and the second is the spiritual sigh and what it says.
I am a confessed meddler. I poke my nose into other person’s business…”for that is my trade” as S. Holmes would say. The shepherd, with his rod and staff, would always look under the sheep’s wool to make certain everything was as healthy on the underside as it appeared on the outside. This means the shepherd or pastor must look underneath or behind the scenes, if you will, of those for whom he is responsible for.
Everyone has a church face…I never did and that put some people off. Others thought me different because I did not have a Church smile on my church face. The Lord has gifted me with discernment and we are able to read between the lines or like I said before, “look under the wool.” We do not apologize for this, in fact the pastors that do not meddle should be apologizing. In other words your business is my business.
I listen to Christ-ian radio programs and on some of these programs other listeners will send in their prayer requests and then they are read over the air and the listening audience is meant to pray for these people. Many of these requests are prayers that need not be made. Sometimes or many times a commom request is, “Pray for X because s/he feels s/he is growing apart from the Lord.” I groan in my spirit and sometimes out loud. This is not something one seeks others to pray about, this is something one handles.
I’ve been to many prayer meetings and many requests are no more than attention seeking devices or gossip. Again, I groan. The Christ-ian life comes down to two rather simple actions. 1. Read YOUR BIBLES!!! and 2. PRAY!!! It doesn’t get any simpler than that. I also hear person calling radio stations and asking the most basic questions. This ought not to be….The answers are in the BOOK. I know, I might sound harsh, but I’m right. In order to keep one’s heart right with God one must READ THE BIBLE and PRAY OFTEN. If you are reading your Bibles you are communing with God which means your mind and thought are in a good place which means it’s not in a bad place. If you are praying or walking with God you are walking on holy ground which means you are not walking upon unholy ground.
I know there are deeper spiritual needs that people need there shepherd for and that is fine. I’m not talking about counseling others through difficult times, I’m talking about Christ-ianity 101.
“Would you pray for me. I’m seeking God’s will on divorcing my spouse because I’ve fallen in love with someone else. My spouse is just not meeting my needs”
“I have an unspoken, would you pray for that, please?”
“Pastor, I’m pregnant and am considering an abortion, would you seek God’s will in this matter.”
“I have a bad cold, would you pray for me?”
The answer to the above prayer requests is ….NO! NO! NO! and Good Grief, NO! These need not be prayed for or about. We have the Lord’s will revealed in these matters already, there is no need for prayer. Divorce is a no; Unspoken request? No! You tell me the problem.; Abortion? NO! Pray for your cold? No! Take some cold medicine.
I’m not trying to be mean nor am I being mean, I am shepherding God’s flock. Do you know what a shepherd would do to a sheep that continually wonders off? The shepherd would break the leg of that sheep. This was an act of love. The church needs more leg breakers than hand holders or glad handers. The church needs more grimaces and frowns than false faced church smiles.
Christ-ian reader, you must take your walk with God seriously. Your relationship to Him is the most important one in your life and you must guard it with all you’ve been given and gifted with. Your walk/relationship with God transends any and all human bonds. If you want good relations with others, you must be right with Him. This unity with Christ must be cultivated, fertlilized, and weeded regularly. There is no more precious thing in this world than one’s walk with God.
Our next topic is on the language of sighing.
You will find our Lord sighing often in the Gospels. You will find Paul writing about the language of sighs and groans in Romans. Paul tells us that the Spirit will interpret our sighs and groans before God. I understand well the language of our Lord’s sigh. Do you?
I get it when He looks upon Jerusalem and sighs and says that He would have been happy to gather them all into one safe place, but they would not. I see or meddle as I said before and what I find causes me to sigh deeply in my spirit because there is not much I can do about what I see because like Jerusalem, they would not be willing to do what is needed to be right…humanly speaking.
We see people hurting physically, children living in aweful family environments, marriages failing, persons sick and some terminally ill, we see pastors enduring great stress because of others, we see missionaries serving God in terrible conditions, we see persons needing help and not knowing that they need help and I sigh deeply in my spirit.
We read what people post and I can read between their lines and I sigh. I see the elderly in failing health and children that are suffering from physical and other infirmities and I sigh. I see these things and I notice no one elso does and I sigh. I share these burdens with others and others care not to see what I see or to get involved and I sigh. If I could I would build a great spiritual compound and call all of these persons in where they could be safe and get all the help they need but it is not possible, (humanly speaking, as all things are possible with God,) so I sigh.
However…. I also see a wonderful Christ-ian couple who love God and are loved by God, I see this couple adopt (3) children from China. These beautiful children have cleft palettes and this couple adopt them and bring them to America and these children receive the medical attention needed….and I rejoice. I am so proud of this couple…their names are Chet and Anne Evans, they are so good and loving….and I rejoice in tears.
I know of a woman who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer but she still thrives in spite of no chemo or radiation… and I rejoice.
I have a brother in law…..a brother and friend who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, but he had it removed and is well….and I rejoice.
I know of a dear Christ-ian woman, a pastors wife that was diagnosed with lymphoma almost a decade and a half ago and she thrives in her service to her Lord and His flock….and I rejoice.
I have a brother that was saved in his (60’s) sixties…. and I rejoice.
I have learned that life is made up of Sighs, groans, and rejoicing.
Job said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” Paul said, “I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able…” Christ Jesus our Lord said, “Believe..in Me.”
I will answer Job, Paul and my Master thusly, “I will trust Him, Too”; “I am persuaded as well”; and to my Master, ” I do and I will for Thou are Worthy.” However, I will answer them all in the language of Sighs and Groaning, for this is the language we all know well.