What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

How Are You Today?

How are you?  I'm fine, thank you. How are you?  I'm okay.

Does this sound familiar? How often do we ask each other these questions back and forth...and do we really listen for the answer?  Or do we just take it for granted that the person says what they mean..."I'm fine, thank you."...but what if they said, "I'm not doing so well. I really need to talk to someone."  Do we stop what we are doing and listen?  Or perhaps they don't come right out and say it that obviously.  Maybe they simply say, "I'm okay", but with a tone that doesn't quite match up to the statement.  Do we prod any further into their private thoughts? Do we ask what's wrong? Do we care?

I am guilty of not taking things a step further.  I often rush on about my business and don't let it sink in that the person may not really be "okay".  This past week everyone was crushed by the tragic suicide of Robin Williams.  Even though I was not a particular fan, I was still saddened by his death. Saddened that the very people who make us laugh are often the ones crying on the inside, and we are not aware. I won't belabor the subject of R.W. any further as much has been said about him all week long in the news, tabloids, everywhere we look.

I will only say that we need to pay closer attention to what people are really saying to us by their

  • actions
  • words
  • expressions
  • writings
  • non-verbal communications
  • attitudes
We have all heard it said:

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
This has been attributed to Plato, Greek author & philosopher in Athens (427 BC - 347 BC)

Regardless of who said it when, it seems to be a very true statement.  I can speak it from experience. I mean, haven't we all come through some "hard battles" in life? If you've lived a while on this earth, you surely have had some battles.  I remember one young couple in one of our churches in the past who seemed to have everything going well for them.  Good jobs, nice house, great marriage, beautiful children. The wife once made the comment to me that she couldn't understand why everyone wasn't happy like they were. They considered themselves good Christian people, and therefore they seemed to think that they had no problems, no worries and nothing to fear. Her attitude was that if everyone lived life like they did they shouldn't have so many problems.  I tried hard not to be too critical of this naive young woman, and I didn't want to alarm her, but I wanted her to understand that sooner or later everyone goes through some kind of trial on this earth.  If they don't, then possibly they really aren't living a life worth cultivating.  

The New Testament book of I Peter, Chapter 1, addresses this subject. Primarily in verses 6-8, which say:

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while,
if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
that the genuineness of your faith, being much more
precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire,
may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
Whom having not seen you love..."

And again we see in the book of James, chapter 1, verses 2-4:

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
But let patience have its perfect work,
that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

See, sooner or later, if we are living right, we will all suffer through various trials...to help us grow stronger in our faith and maturity.  This young woman that I spoke of earlier soon found out that just living a good life did not guarantee them a worry free existence.  Not long after making this comment to us, their sweet little daughter was diagnosed with autism, and a whole new world of learning and trusting and faith was set before them.  I have not seen or heard of this family in many years since we were called on to other places far away not long after, but I wonder if she would be so glib in her thoughts and comments today.  I have a feeling that their lives were changed over night by this difficult circumstance, but I would be willing to bet they are stronger and richer in faith and love and heart because of the trial that came into their lives.

What I am trying to say is this:  
  • Don't be so quick to dismiss someone just because they say they are "Okay".
  • Take time to listen to what might be said between the lines
  • Don't judge others who may be suffering because they don't live life according to your particular standards.  You really don't know the whole story, do you?
  • Don't be so quick to think just because you live right that you won't ever have to endure hardships.
  • Trials come to all of us sooner or later.
The good news is this:  We are not alone in our struggles and trials.

Psalm 55:22 says:

"Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved."

Matthew 11:28-30 says:

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me,
for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Take time to listen to others...and take time to take care of yourself as well.  If you are currently in the midst of a battle, cast your care upon the Lord...He WILL sustain you. He will not forsake you.  Lean on Him and learn what it means to take His yoke upon you and learn from Him.  Then be willing and able to share that knowledge and love with others who may be struggling beneath their heavy load.

Lord, help me to be a load bearer for others who may be struggling beneath their load. Help me not to be so quick to judge.  Help me to remember to lean on You...and lead others to You for strength as well. Amen.


  1. I appreciate this post and like you, want to help others with burdens. I have a good group of Christian friends and prayer warriors and we share pretty honestly about prayer needs we have. Recently I asked for their prayers and felt very lifted up and secure when they prayed.

    1. Thank you Terra. Yes, we do need one another in this old world...to pray, to encourage, to help, to share our burdens. Blessed are we when we have such friends who are willing and able to do so. But even if we don't...Jesus is the great Burden Bearer. He WILL carry us through. Blessings to you today dear friend.

  2. Amen, Pam. I've had folks close to me say how thankful they are that they have such blessed lives...and I have often heard a tiny whisper inside saying, "ah! but what you're missing there on the surface!" Trials cause us to dive deeply into Him...and in that depth, there is hard-won peace and the JOY Of which James writes. Great reminder...

    1. Yes, I can remember singing a little song with the line, "our trials come to only make us strong"...and then discovered that to be so very true. There are times that I think I must be the strongest woman in the world because of my various trials...and then I look around me and see others enduring much more difficult tragedies than I could ever imagine...and I have to say, "thank You, Lord, for Your mercy on me"....He knows exactly what we can bear. I just have to praise Him for His kindness.

  3. This is chockfull of good advice Pam. But mostly it reveals your kind and loving heart for others. I am sure that the people you work with and do church with, are so blessed to have you in their lives.

    1. Thank you Susie...actually, I wish I could live up to my own writing...much of this is where I want to be and ought to be...but I still have a tendency to walk away without realizing that there was an opportunity to share Christ's love and mercy with a hurting soul. I pray He will continue to open my eyes and my heart to those right in front of me who need a word of hope.

  4. Hi Pamela! I agree that it's too easy to let people go with the response of "ok". Many people are not 'ok' and probably just don't want to share anything negative. Having an open heart like yours really is the best way to encourage others to share.

    We are supposed to help each other shoulder the load. I really like your post today, you have a real feel for people who are suffering. I'm sure that has been hard-won.
    Blessings to you my friend,

    1. Oh Ceil...if only I could live up to my own expectations...I am too human, too busy, too frail in spirit. I have to pray that the Lord will continually open my eyes and my heart to those around me...and that He would give me the courage to do something about what I see and hear. It's a daily challenge...and I have definitely not won this battle. Thank you for your words of encouragement. You are a blessing to me!

  5. Good words to ponder, Pamela. Very touching and thought provoking! Something we surely all have done before, not listening with our hearts.

    1. I'm guilty more times than I like to admit. Trying to work on that however. Thank you for stopping by to visit. Always appreciate hearing from you. :)


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