Bulbul songs in syncopation, dove moans sifting down from trees, coucal riffs descending, rhyming, roosters greeting dawn with glee, I’m surrounded by the music harmonies of melodies. In it all I find I’m waiting for the One who talks to me. While I’m waiting, here comes stillness, then a distant toddler’s shout and the noise of rumbling motors— busy people heading out.
And I know that you are saying hurting humans have your heart. May each step that I am taking lead to healing, a new start. You, Creator, make the chorus. You, Musician, plant the songs. You, the Alpha and Omega, speak the words that right the wrongs.
In that place set aside for worship and listening by the choir of birds that morning, I did not expect that message to come: “hurting humans have his heart.” But as I silenced the noisy thoughts still taking over in my brain, stilled my heart and picked up my pen, the description of the songs turned into a realization that Abba is the Healer, and he cares about everyone who is hurting. It might be that toddler I heard, or the motorcycle rider whipping by. It might be someone the Lord would make me “bump into” that day. My job: to follow the prompts, and to speak his words to the hurting people he brought my way.
Back in Côte d’Ivoire, one day I noticed a colleague slumped over their desk. I almost passed by, but instead stopped and asked if he was all right. Sure enough, he was facing a real dilemma. Another time, a friend’s daughter died suddenly of kidney complications. I accompanied her female relatives to the morgue, where they bathed the body and prepared it for the burial service that afternoon. The problem was that her body was so swollen that none of her best shirts, chosen by her family to give her dignity, could fit around her chest at all. That morning the Lord had been reminding me to respond to those in need. I pulled off my stretchy striped shirt, and it fit her. One of the women unwrapped her extra pagne (a two-yard wrap), offered it to me, and I wrapped it around my body as a covering until I would get home to get dressed again. The corpse was not aware of that “act of kindness,” but her worried sisters were!
Recently I had an urge that seemed straightforward but odd: I felt it important to participate in a church event that I had never attended before. It was not what I expected. A very hurting person ended up debriefing with me, a person I had only just introduced myself to, and we made a connection that may go much further. I’m just glad that I was there. Once again, I saw that the Lord knows who is hurting, and what he has in mind. When he can use me, even just to listen and encourage someone, he will send that message to “go.”
Wherever we are, there are hurting people, and Abba cares about them. How should we reach out? Where should we start? We can pray. And as the Lord wishes, he puts contacts in place at the right time, in his way.
So let’s be on alert to hear that prompt to reach out, or to respond when someone is suddenly in our space. Abba is at work, and we are his co-laborers, reflecting his Light and Love to those he puts in our path. We are all to be on mission as he directs!
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Col. 3:12 NIV)
REMINDER: If you want to dig more deeply into how the Lord was teaching me to listen while overseas, my book When He Whispers: Learning to Listen on the Journey can be found on these websites:
Direct from the publisher, WestBow Press: https://www.westbowpress.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/824658-when-he-whispers
Christian Book Distributors: https://www.christianbook.com/when-whispers-learning-listen-the-journey/linnea-boese/9781664224100