When we are suffering in a difficult situation, or working through a trial, or tempted by a besetting sin, one of the first things that we think is how alone we feel. We feel alone because we are the only person we know who is struggling with depression. We feel lonely because we don’t see other people dealing with chronic illness. We feel lonely because we want people to be right beside us as we work through something. And the easiest thing in the world is to blame the rest of the church for not knowing. For not understanding how we feel. For not struggling the same struggle with us. For saying things that were unfeeling. Do they not love us?
I’m sure all of us are familiar with the illustration that Paul uses about our different gifts being like different parts of a body. Some are gifted with one thing, and they do that on behalf of the whole body. But today I’d like to write about another aspect of this that we often don’t think about – suffering, temptations, afflictions, and any other kind of struggling. Whatever part of the body of Christ you are, your gifts are unique. And so are your struggles.
It is easy to find an abundance of articles accusing Christians of not handling the problems of others the right way. Whether it is “20 things to never say to a woman with a dirty house,” or “15 phrases to avoid using around childless couples,” or “10 mean thing churches do to single people” – it is easy to busy ourselves with itemizing the ways that other people failed to help us in our time of need. These sorts of articles always hit some kind of a mark too. People gather around them with praise and comments about how many stupid people said just this thing to them when they had just this problem.
Now I’m not differing with some of the actual advice in these articles – it may or may not be helpful. And I’m certainly not trying to say that we shouldn’t bother ourselves with trying to understand other people’s trials. We should. I’d just like to try to paint this picture differently for a minute.
The body of Christ is full of people who have problems. Each of us has our own unique burdens. Some of them might be obviously visible to anyone who looks – but it may very well be that you are carrying a tremendous burden and even your close friends don’t notice.
But here is the beauty of this – whatever burdens you are carrying, you are carrying them on our behalf. The fight you feel alone in – you are fighting it for all of us.
When the sorrow of infertility is pressing in on you and you turn to Christ, you are being Christ to us.
When you face depression, and turn your mouth to praise the Lord, you are being Christ to us.
When you lose a loved one and yet still bless His name, you are being Christ to us.
When you get the victory over petty sin – you are being Christ to us.
When your marriage falls apart, and though your are embarrassed and humbled, you faithfully confess and repent of your sins – you are being Christ to us.
When you fight through cancer in the joy of the Lord – you are fighting the physical battle for yourself and the spiritual ones for all of us. You are being Christ to us.
When some infection takes over a small part of the body – there is one place that the battle rages, but it is a battle that is being fought on behalf of the whole body. When that victory is won through the grace of God, it is won for all of us, and it ministers to all of us.
Often times in the wake of some tragedy, we are all shocked by the way the people closest to it bear up under it. A widow grieving, and yet still comforting her comforters. A mother of a child in a graveyard, ministering to the whole body of Christ not just through her bereavement, but with it. The way you handle the sorrows in your life is a means of ministering to others.
The truth is that the role of comforter is not the only way to be Christ to others. The role of the afflicted and still victorious is exactly what Christ was for us. Tempted in everything that we are, and yet not falling.
We need you. Not after you get over whatever thing it is you are dealing with and you feel ready. We need you to be getting through your burdens now, for us. We need you to fight faithfully, now, for us. We need you who have the best view of that threat that we are all facing – to fight it for us. This is a means that every Christian can use to minister to every other Christian.
Depending on your circumstances, this may sound harsh to you. Chances are good that if you have felt embarrassed of your temptations, or embarrassed of your situation, or simply alone and tired of fighting, that you don’t want to hear about how you can help us. You want to read a list of things that everyone is doing wrong to you. But remember – this principle means a lot more. You are part of the body of Christ – your problems are very literally our problems. We need your victory because it is ours, and you need ours because it is yours. We all have the victory – because we are His.
This is not something that we can attain to only if we are black-belt level Christians. All you need for this is Christ. He literally took all the battles we will ever face and ultimately won them for us. Never forget that He is the head of this body – he does know exactly what you are dealing with. He does feel the pain in a way that the rest of us simply can’t. He does know, and He is with you.
33 thoughts on “Fight for Us”
This is gorgeous, Rachel. Thanks!
Wow. Fantastic. Thank you, Rachel.
Awesome! I liked this a lot. Thanks.
What a beautiful perspective, and so well phrased. Thank you, Rachel.
I really love this. Thank you for sharing, and reminding us that we can always go to Christ for comfort.
Thank you for this post. I started a blog about infertility because the people around me wanted to know more. They didn’t know how to come alongside my husband and me in our struggle. They didn’t know what to say, and they couldn’t relate. My goal was to encourage others in the struggle and provide insight for those who wanted it. I have found that suffering can be a breeding ground for selfishness. You’re right, it becomes easy to focus on how people fail us. I certainly have been there. My goal now is to be a better encouragement to others, to recognize that everyone has a burden, and to do what I can to lighten it for them.
Thank you for reminding us that everyone has a unique burden to bear and that suffering is beneficial to the body of Christ.
So encouraging. Thank you Rachel!
This is so good!!!!
Thank you for this one.
thank you Rachel for pointing us to Christ no matter what side of the burden we find ourselves on.
Valerie hit the nail on the head. Gorgeous. This post is an answer to much prayer. Thank you for taking the time to write
Love sees, love hopes & cheers, I love this part! “When some infection takes over a small part of the body – there is one place that the battle rages, but it is a battle that is being fought on behalf of the whole body. When that victory is won through the grace of God, it is won for all of us, and it ministers to all of us.”
Thanks Rachel, good job.
We ARE his Body. Thanks Rachel! Keep fighting the good fight, Believers.
I never thought of it like this. Thanks for the new perspective.
Amen and thank you! I think many of these blogs that you mentioned leave us not able to bear oone another’s burdens because now we don’t know what to say. I had 2 miscarriages and one at 19 weeks and I found so many people didn’t ever bring it up because they were afraid of hurting or offending and told me so later. I was glad for any show of concern. Your post is great and having had many struggles in life it is about growing up and ministering in the body…getting our minds off ourselves.
This was a great perspective. Thanks!
That is such GREAT encouragement. This is the kind of word that, to a willing ear, makes us want to keep bearing with strong shoulders the loads that we too often want to drop.
Good reasons for pressing on help. And this is a deep wisdom with great reason.
Good words. My mom married my Daddy when she was 18 and just lost him this month. He was a truly Godly man and we all wondered how we would go in without him. Mom said His faith was so strong she wondered how hers would hold up after this great loss. But man is she fighting for us! Her cheerful spirit, Scripture filled prayers and loving heart are the mightiest of testimonies! I am truly grateful! Our God is mighty even when we are at our weakest!
I keep thinking about how God is going to use my trials for the Kingdom SOMEDAY… and sometimes I feel very alone (and a little sorry for myself). Thank you for this post, and especially for this line: “We need you. Not after you get over whatever thing it is you are dealing with and you feel ready.” I need to bookmark this to send to friends when they face something difficult — so encouraging. Thank you!
Spot on! Using this to remind me of my battles in raising 4 kids while hubby still working on Dmin , that we thought would be done by now but Still have at least a year to go, and full time work, while living in apartment! Yet, i am happy because the truth of Jesus’s victory over suffering/death, and my death, is worth all the immensely, beautifully difficult roads i must travel!
I really appreciated this post, especially that you point out,”The way you handle the sorrows in your life is a means of ministering to others.” That is so true. One way we do that is by graciously receiving attempts at comfort without a critical spirit. Many Christian brothers and sisters endeavor to be there for us and say something of comfort in our times of sorrow, even if it comes out not according to our script. By overlooking a less-than-perfect attempt at comfort and recognizing the love behind it, we minister love back to them.
Great instruction!! I appreciate how you help us to focus on others instead of ourselves during a trial and to know it is for the whole body. It is easy to have a pity party and to look at others and claim them without struggle, just because we cannot see their struggle. I think the best thing is not to talk, but to listen to some one who is struggling.
Thank you for this. Such wisdom and insight!
Wow, wow, wow. This is beautiful! Thank you.
Thank you for this today, Rachel. I needed it. I’ve been there; I’ve felt all alone in my struggles, grief and temptations. I refused to believe the lies that I was unique in my sufferings though or that no-one cared about me. And now that I’m on the other side of some of my sufferings, I can see how God used them for good and for helping others (in the present and perhaps the future). Maybe just maybe I can help someone when they are going through something similar. I pray that I can be a listening ear and a good friend.
I apologize for putting this after this post but wasn’t sure if comments for older posts are still read.
At your family Sabbath dinner, in what order are folks served? Is it ladies first? (even if this means the young daughter goes ahead of the father for instance?) We just started having the men stand for the women as mentioned in one of your books and would be interested in knowing what you do for the order.
Well said, Rachel!
Inspiring way to look at our sufferings. Bless you.
Thank you, Rachel.
The day you wrote this The Lord moved in a divine way! My aunt was going for testing after being given a clean bill of health after a year long battle with cancer. She was having stomach trouble & was concerned the cancer was coming back. I wanted to send something to focus my mom & her sister as they took my aunt to this appointment. I checked your website a few times that day, then that afternoon you posted this & I got chills as I read because I know this was the lords message for me to pass on to them. Thank you for your faithfulness to write! It blesses so many & draws us to Jesus!
This was a wonderful blessing to read. Thank you.
So well put and so true. Thank you, Rachel!