by Sheri Schofield
About a year ago, I decided it was time to try steaming veggies. You know – no fattening oils or butter that would drive up the calorie count. I bought an inexpensive double boiler to see if I liked the way the veggies tasted when steamed. They were delicious! I found myself using the double boiler more and more often. Then one day, when I was cooking, the double boiler began rocking wildly back and forth.
“What?” I thought. “Why’s it doing that?” I discovered that the metal on the bottom of the boiler had popped into a rounded shape. I could see this lack of reinforcement would be a problem. One can’t cook with the kettle wildly shaking and rotating on the burner!
I have a glass-top stove, very convenient for moving kettles around. I moved the tea kettle over next to the boiler and pushed the shaking and rattling pan up against the top of the stove. Bolstered between the tea kettle and the stove, the faulty boiler settled down and did its job. I now keep it braced between those two sturdy objects when I cook…until I can find a better kettle.
There are many people in this world whose foundations are not strong, much like that double boiler. Maybe they have not grown up with hardship. Maybe they have been taught to blame others for their problems instead of taking ownership. Maybe their faith is weak. Maybe they struggle with fear or insecurity or mental illness. Or possibly they have gone through far more suffering than we have endured, and it has broken them. There are many reasons why people struggle under pressure.
Our assignment from God is not to judge others who are weak, but rather we are to come alongside them and bolster them up and encourage them. Gentle words of encouragement can help move them closer to God and help them learn to trust Him. He alone can build strength into our souls.
The Apostle Paul wrote: “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up… May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had… accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you” (Romans 15:1, 2, 5, 7, NIV).
In this life, each of us are likely to have weak times, moments or even years of grieving or loss. When we are weak, we rattle around and may seem a little overwhelmed or hysterical to those around us.
I’ve been there. For three years, I suffered from posttraumatic stress after a fierce battle to save my husband’s life from the overwhelming power of some unscrupulous people. During that time, nearly everything I said when talking with others ended up about that battle.
I was in a new community and nobody seemed to know what to do or say to help me. But there was a very small group of Christian people who came alongside me. They listened, they loved, and they prayed for me. Eventually, the Lord healed my heart. Now I can laugh again! I am free!
Had it not been for those caring, patient friends, I would not have been healed. For God gives us to each other to strengthen, encourage, and to help Him bring healing to troubled hearts.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 NIV.
About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator. She was named Arise Daily Writer of the Year in 2020, and Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Sheri also writes devotions for children at her website: www.sherischofield.com in “Campfire”, and is in the process of developing a children’s program on her YouTube site. Questions welcomed!
Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.
Join the conversation: Do you know someone who is struggling? Will you stand alongside that person?