July 14, 2013

What Strikes Him First

Just a simple thought, yet it carried the weight of a ten-pound hammer driving a sharp nail.

It came in a story, as so many simple sermons do.

We were gathered there on a sleeping bag in the middle of the floor. A curly head rested on my lap, and a half dozen other canvassers in various positions of relaxation pressed close about me as we do during our ritual Sabbath evening story time.

The story drew us through the experience of a woman seeking to comfort a hateful and cruel man on his deathbed. Though her work was a labor of love, it was met with curses and desperate ingratitude. She grew weary and gave up on the wretch. Then a word from a child pricked her conscience. She came to the cross and wept. Then went back-- not to visit a vile man, but to save a soul.
Again she was met with curses and oaths, but this time it wasn't the same:

"I do not know what I expected, but the man greeted me with an awful oath. Still it did not hurt; for I was behind Christ, and I stayed there; and I could bear what struck him first."

I, too, can bear what hits Him first. He deflects the blow. He only lets through what I can handle.

Be it rejections at doors, false accusations, angry words... I can bear what hits Him first.

How much we lose by trying to handle pain on our own! What a relief to know that we have a Mighty Helper we can hide in and be protected.

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