I call them the “flannelgraph lessons” — the Bible stories I first heard in Sunday school. The story of the Good Samaritan rates right up there with David and Goliath and Jonah and the great fish. Isn’t if funny (or sad) that we can hear these famous biblical stories countless times and still fail to see their potential application in daily life?
Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. Luke 10:25-37
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a person beaten, left for dead on the side of the road. If I did, I certainly hope that I would go the extra mile to “love my neighbor” as Jesus taught. At the very least, I’d call for help.
As some of you know, last week, I joined 160 women from around the country to climb in Teton National Park to raise money and awareness for women and children who are oppressed around the world. While climbing, I tried to focus on and pray for those I for whom intended to climb. However, the Lord got my attention in an unexpected way (doesn’t He always?)
Through the ministry of Authentic Intimacy, I have the opportunity to meet many women with broken hearts. I hear stories of horrific abuse, sexual addiction, betrayal, and shame-filled secrets. I’m just going to be honest here - sometimes it feels like too much to bear. My hearts feels as if I can’t hear another woman’s story or answer another woman’s questions about how to fix a broken life. In some cases, the Lord has allowed me to walk intimately with women through their healing. Honesty again… these journeys can be really messy. They don’t fit into prescribed action plans or scheduled office hours.
While climbing the mountains in Wyoming, I just felt tired and spent. Sure, my body was tired, but my exhaustion came from a deeper place. Then it dawned on me… the women I meet through Authentic Intimacy are not physically broken and bleeding, but they often are half-dead spiritually and emotionally. Like the religious leaders in the flannelgraph story, I could give a blessing, say a prayer and pass by because I’m too busy and my “work” is too important. But the Good Samaritan gave sacrificially. He went out of his way to bring healing to a man he had never met, not expecting anything in return.
It is far easier to raise money for people we don’t know than to invest in the messy journey of a woman living right beside us. I believe that we pass wounded people every day, rushing by them without a thought. Sure, we can’t stop for everyone, but do we ever stop for anyone? Are we willing to listen until our ears bleed and “be there” at the most inconvenient times? Or are we too busy with the “spiritual work” we think will make God happy?
Many times, the Lord has reminded me, “Juli, you are not fit to write articles and give speeches if you are too busy to care about just one woman.” Caring about thousands of women from a distance requires less from me than caring for one woman up close. God doesn’t want our money, our talents or good intentions. He desires our availability.
So let me ask you…. who is that woman or man on the side of your “road” who is desperate for someone to care? Are you willing to be greatly inconvenienced without recognition just because of love?