When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36
Well, it’s a week later. If you are a regular Grits reader you might remember that a week ago, I wrote about my grand adventure as I hiked a local trail called, “Indian Point.” It is an incredible trail and a hike that I will remember for quite a while. Whenever I do something for the first time it kinda hangs in my memory. For instance, this time I remember the first quarter or third of a mile up the hill that the trail was more roots than dirt. I remember after a while there were several short trails leading to some large rock outcrops. I took a detour down one and stood amazed as I surveyed the valley below. I also remember what happened next.
Next was my boot caught a root. In a split second I tripped and landed flat on my face. I told you last week that I fell very hard and it hurt. I haven’t changed my mind. I banged up my left arm and side and well, let’s just say all week the pain just kept right on coming. Finally, on Saturday, almost a week later, I could cough and bend over without my side not so gently reminding me of the fall. My arm, on the other hand, is still plenty sore and I am sporting a really, ugly bruise. It isn’t one of those wimp bruises either. It covers most of my elbow and upper forearm and is a nice purple and yellow color. It’s the kinda bruise when people see it, they say “ouch.”
This past Sunday I returned to Indian Point. My wife Judy was back from her journey to the “Southland” and I wanted to share the trail with her. I narrated the way along the trail and finally we came to the place where I fell. Right in the middle of the trail was the root…the only one, but then it only takes one. I told her, “This is where it happened.” I think maybe she then had a better understanding of my fall and a new appreciation for the bruise that I am still sporting. Perhaps, that experience made my experience better because it became her experience too. I know this is true because right there she gave me a sermon about hiking alone and being careful.
So, do you know someone that is pretty bruised up over life? Has someone shown you their “bruise” recently? No, I’m not talking about the kind that comes from tripping over a root, but the kind that comes from tripping over something in life. An unkind word. An unnecessarily sharp criticism. A sarcastic zinger. The loss of a friend or a job or a marriage? You see, there are a lot of bruised folks around us, and it is important that we stop long enough to feel their hurt and pain. Jesus did that so well. It didn’t matter what, it seemed He always had the time to hurt with someone.
Whether it was a leper, a woman with a bad reputation, or a tax collector hated and disowned by everyone, He always took the time to stop, take a look at their bruised life, and hurt with them. One time He came ashore from a boat ride across the lake and there was a gaggle of people bruised and banged up by their broken world. The Bible tells us that He saw them and then He had compassion on them. He.Saw.Them. In other words, He saw their bruises and then loved them.
So, if you bump into me this week, no pun intended, ask and I will show you my bruised arm. It should be good for at least five or six more days. We can laugh together because of the story, but at the same time it will be a good reminder for both of us to be like Jesus and share another’s hurt and pain. Oh, and be sure and watch out for those roots…remember it only takes one. But if you do fall, I know someone who can pick you up. And if you listen carefully, you will hear Him whisper, “Don’t worry…I’ve got this.” Bro. Dewayne