Author: Rita Moritz - Blog Post for March 23, 2018
 
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A Way in the Wilderness Blog Post.

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God will make a way even where there seems to be no way.
"I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19

 
 
 
 

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March 23, 2018:    

What Kind of Friend Can Understand my Pain?
#walkinmyshoes #expectations #ritamoritz
 
 
 
  Ezekiel 3:15 “Then I came to them of the captivity…and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.”

What a contrast there is between Ezekiel going to the Israelites in captivity and Job’s “friends” going to sit and grieve with him! Job’s friends, however well intentioned, didn’t help him at all.

Their words wounded rather than healed, and their judgmental, self-righteous assumptions about Job’s sin were totally wrong. Knowing nothing, they thought they could speak for God about what was wrong with Job’s life and how he should fix it. How sad.

Ezekiel, on the other hand, had just come from the presence of God, and God had sent him on a mission and a difficult mission at that. Ezekiel was to go to the Israelites and minister to them while they were captives to the Babylonians. This was the beginning of Ezekiel’s ministry, and I can only guess the misery he saw when he got there.

So why was his reaction different from that of Job’s friends? I think it’s because, knowing he was going to be there with them, he “sat where they sat” (Ezekiel 3:15) And there’s going to be a world of difference between those who look at our lives from their own different experiences and those who are facing the same things we are.

How can people understand the agony of soul and the bitterness of a broken marriage if their own marriage never struggled and failed? How can they understand the constant fear and losses of someone with cancer if they’ve never had a serious illness themselves? How can they understand how the world changes when we lose a loved one if everyone they love is alive and doing well?

The simple answer is, they can’t. Think about it a minute. Is it fair of us to ask someone to do what we know they cannot? Does our friend’s lack of understanding make them less a friend? Or does the fault lie in our own unreasonable expectations? Having those unreasonable expectations can destroy friendships and every other kind of relationship. And it’s something we’re doing to ourselves.

That’s where individuals or a group of people sharing a common struggle can be so helpful, and it’s why I recommend support groups like Alanon, Overcomers, GriefShare, Bereavement Groups and others.

When my son Buddy died, my friend Marlene didn’t need to say a word. She only came to my house and sat with me for a while. She knew what it was like to lose a child, and I didn’t feel compelled to explain. I also belong to a support group where some of the women have lost children. I can talk about it or not, but either way, I know they understand.
A friend recently told me some ladies from her church are going to start a Sunday School class for people who love a prodigal. What an amazing idea! It’s amazing because we can both understand and be better understood by people who have “sat where we sat.”

I’m not talking about finding someone who will say what we want them to say. Ezekiel had some hard things to say when he began to speak to the captive Israelites. But he didn’t say a word until he had sat there and identified himself with them. He “sat where they sat” and became one with their pain.

Challenge for Today: What might happen if we, just for today, realized some of our friends can’t understand what’s happening in our life and reached out instead to those who can?
 

 
 
 
 

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  It’s tough trying to walk the hard path of loving a prodigal alone, isn’t it?
To find who will walk every step of this journey with you,
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