I could have let it slide, when he casually walked by and did something mean to his classmate, but I’ve been praying for my students by name all year and have been trying to influence each one to grow in character. So this seemingly small act was a big deal to me.
At 4:00 the next morning, the question of what to do woke me up. I agonized. Prayed. Let tears drop for the soul of this student. It was a morning when I was tired and had a lot to do, but accomplishing chores were put on hold while I rolled this problem around in my mind.
This is what we do when we care. It’s the price we pay when the driving purpose in our lives is to help our people know God and to live for him.
Jesus did this for people. He wanted to save us, so he spent time in the night laboring over what needed to happen.
He could have let it slide. Ignoring humanity’s downward spiral away from God would have made life a whole lot easier on him.
But he personally embraced the brokenness of the souls he created.
And so for us, there is a valuable gift we can give to our people that will make a difference in their lives –the willingness to be miserable on their behalf.
Five Ways to Agonize Well for Your People
Give up sleep. Toss and turn in the night. Let the condition of the child or the husband or the student or the employee weigh heavily on your mind. It means a lot to people when they know you’ve spent time thinking about them off the clock.
Think hard about the situation. God wants you to love him with all of your mind. If you take time to mentally work the problem that burdens you in someone’s life, you’re demonstrating a love for God by using your mind well.
Humble yourself. Your concern for others will immediately bring you face-to-face with your own limitations. You know the other person needs positive change, but you need to acknowledge that you cannot crawl inside someone else’s mind and heart and do the work that needs to be done. In fact, you often won’t have a clue about the depth of information and understanding needed to influence others. You are weak, but God is capable to do what you cannot. This kind of humility is a great nutrient for our relationships.
Pray fervently. Beg God to help the person you care about. Keep asking. I personally think names of humans are very valuable and grab the Father’s attention. Praying will take a lot of energy and time, but you’ll find it’s an effective investment.
Wait on the Lord. Waiting is a certain kind of agony. We wait for God to act in a person’s life, and this requires great patience and effort to continually renew our hope that, with God’s help, people can change and grow. Waiting means you refuse to give up on people, and this is hard to do when the waiting sometimes is for months or years.
I had a conversation with my student. It went differently than I expected and was richer than I could have hoped. Was it worth giving up an entire morning and carrying a heavy burden for him? Yes.
We like life to be easy and pleasant, but investing in people forces us to give up those comforts, in order to see progress in the growth of souls.
What discomfort are you willing to endure, for the sake of influencing the people whom God has put in your life?
Much love from Montana,
Christy Fitzwater is a writer and pastor’s wife living in Kalispell, Montana. She has a daughter who is married and a son in college. Christy writes to help people know God, and you can find her new book about becoming blameless on Amazon. Or follow her devotional blog at ChristyFitzwater. You can follow Christy on Instagram here!