A little while back I listened to a podcast interview with two women who lost their husband to suicide. Both these men were mid-life lead pastors with a growing church. Among the many insights from the widows, the one that haunted me was the statement, “I wish there was a man in the church who would have stepped in front of my husband and said, ‘you’re not well and you’re not getting on stage today.’”
There are times when we need to step in front of someone to clear the way. There are other times when we need to step in front of someone to show the way. And then there are times when we need to get in someone’s way to stop them from harm.
We see this in scripture, especially with many of the Old Testament prophets.
- Jeremiah 25:4-7 The Lord has sent all his servants the prophets to you again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention…But you did not listen to me,” declares the Lord, “and you have aroused my anger with what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves.”
There have been times when I was not in a good place and despite my desire to disguise it, I was hoping that someone would step in front of me, eye to eye, and see my real condition.
I didn’t need a prophet. I just needed a caring, observant friend.
Several years ago I read an article about a viewer of a local news station who noticed a lump on the TV reporter’s neck. The viewer immediately emailed the reporter. “Hi, just saw your news report. What concerned me is the lump on your neck. Please have your thyroid checked. Reminds me of my neck. Mine turned out to be cancer. Take care of your self”.
It was this email from an observant and caring person which prompted the reporter to see her doctor. It turned out to be a cancerous tumor on her thyroid which had started to spread into her lymph nodes. The surgery saved her life.
Some one stepped in front of her.
Would we do this for another when we see them deeply and profoundly struggling, as they’re trying to carry on life-as-usual? Would we step in front of their covering up their pain and help them find rest and healing?
These stories cast new meaning on these familiar verses:
- Proverbs 24:11-12 Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it?
- Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Let us be a beautiful barricade for those who need one as we live alert, oriented and engaged.
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