This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled, Bound to Be Free compiled by Jan Pit. In the following short quotation from Sister Maria (pseudonym, from Mozambique; she had been imprisoned under severe circumstances), there is fodder for reflection and perhaps application:
"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." (Matthew 5:11)
"Come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance... for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat..." (Matthew 25:34-35)
In these scriptures I see an inseparable bond.
Blessed are the persecuted and ... blessed are those who help the persecuted.
Although there were times, when in prison, that I doubted God's love, many opportunities arose when my faith was strengthened again and again through the support of other people. Their good deeds came spontaneously, because they loved the Lord ... and me.
It reminded me of Paul's words: 'If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.'
If your leg is injured, you are supplied with a crutch. Without that crutch you cannot walk. In our walk with the Lord, one may be persecuted, but another supports and strengthens.
We need one another, and thus we fulfill the law of Christ. In doing so we all will be blessed, because: 'he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
A moment of introspection: As an intercessor, how my heart resonates with Sister Maria and her words of gratitude and empowerment for us. When she evokes the image of a crutch, I am reminded of the lyrics to a now-famous secular song entitled, "Lean on Me". In that song, we are told that: "Sometimes in our lives we all have pain, we all have sorrow... Lean on me, when you're not strong and I'll be your friend. I'll help you carry on; for it won't be long 'til I'm gonna need somebody to lean on." In these lyrics, Bill Withers empathizes with Sister Maria and, if he were an intercessor, would recognize his role (and ours) as the crutch without which "you cannot walk." We who are members of the Fellowship of The Tattered Knee "comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
Let's examine the concept and nature of the crutch. For it is something neither trampled on nor trodden down during its function. No, it supports and continues to allow the user to function as normally as possible, and the crutch itself is dependent on the firm ground beneath it. And we would recognize the ground upon which our crutches rest, as the power and strength of God. God's Word tells us that "in Him we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28) As intercessors, we aim to support those Christians for whom we pray, letting them continue to serve God because of and through our prayers. We pray the Scriptures at times, acknowledging that God's Scriptures also support and have bearing on the movement and well-being of His servants in their lives of service. Our prayers (our crutches) are requested, even as the apostle Paul sought prayer support from the churches at Colossae and Thessalonica (Colossians 4:3-4; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2). He asked for prayer for their mission work, and sought intercessors to "pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone is faithful."
Our prayers are not in vain. Living, breathing, moving Christians are relying on us to uphold them in prayer. We who believe in the power of prayer and have seen it work veritable wonders, know that when one may be persecuted, another supports and strengthens. We are called to support and strengthen through our crutch--our tool wielded on behalf of God's faithful yet often hurting people. Next time we pray, let's imagine that we are a crutch. We are needed; our prayer is vital. It communicates God's care to those who need it. As Sister Maria avers, "We need one another, and thus we fulfill the law of Christ. In doing so we all will be blessed..."