Silent Sufferers

Yesterday we heard a wonderful sermon from our pastor.  He was preaching from Act 3 where it talks about the lame beggar.  In this story, the lame beggar is used to sit at the gate of the temple to beg alms of those who are entering the temple.  His infirmity was very evident to the people who passed him every day.  Peter and John passed him as they entered the temple and he began to beg.  Peter told him he did not possess any silver or gold to give him, but what he did have he would give to him. In the name of Jesus, Peter gave him the ability to walk again.  (Acts 3:1-10)

It sounds like such a simple story, but as we were going through the pastor’s outline, his first point was – They ministered to one who was suffering.  Then a light bulb went off in my head and I immediately wrote it down on my outline.  How many times do we pass by those who we know who are suffering yet we do not take the time to minister to them?  I’m guilty.

As the sermon continued, my thoughts began to race.  How many are suffering that we do not know about.  I’m not saying that we need to jump into everyone’s business.  But I know some who are suffering.  I know people who fall on the alter who are suffering.  I still do at times. I know there are people who walk in our church with smiles on their faces and their lives are falling apart.  Back in my day, we called them two-faced.  Now, I would prefer to call them silent sufferers.

I’ve realized this more in the grieving process and the difference in the way people grieve.  Collin will bounce from one room to the next, yet he is a silent sufferer.  One day, there will be a Peter that will come along and in the name of Jesus will see his need and will be able to heal what he has been suffering from for so long.

Unfortunately, there is a different type of silent sufferers in our church and they are unbelievers.  Oh my, unbelievers in a church?! Yep, they are there.  Where else are they supposed to be?  Some believe they are saved.  Some do not understand salvation.  And I believe some are just afraid of giving up their own pride.  Many, many, are afraid to walk through the doors of the church.  We would be no where without the loving arms of the church.

Yes, the Erwin family is still suffering from our loss.  We will suffer all day, every day.  But it’s OUR loss, not Trey’s loss.  We are just feeling human suffering that takes understanding, love, and compassion as you walk with us each day.  Believe it or not, I have found it is not as abundant as you would think.  But I think it is because people can’t comprehend the suffering of Christ.  There are so many times that a song will bring me to tears.  I’ve said this before.  It’s not over the loss of Trey, but over the suffering that Christ went through so that Trey could be with him.  So the lame beggar could be healed.

But who among us are suffering in silence?  I know a few, quite a few actually.  I don’t accept “That’s just how they deal with it.”  If the Holy Spirit restores, heals, liberates, helps us in our weaknesses, and regenerates, then what makes us think the Holy Spirit cannot minister to the silent sufferers just as much as the public sufferers?

My prayer is that God will put a silent sufferer in your path, (or even a public sufferer!) you will recognize them, and God will lead you how to minister to them.  As Dr. Fowler said, “We must learn to walk with expectation.” Oh, by the way, I love my pastor. :o)  I’m blessed that he is not only my pastor, but my mentor, counselor and my friend. He truly #liveslikejesus Trey was blessed to have such a wonderful teacher for the time he was here, and Trey knew how blessed he was.  He made a choice not to be silent.

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