Who depends on you?

IN OUR CIRCLE of family and friends, we give and get support. When you’re sad, you grab the phone and call. Short on money? Somebody helps. Need a ride? They pick you up. We lean on each other to get through this thing called life.

In some places though, they depend on you alone. If things go wrong, you are the last line of defense. At least it feels that way sometimes.

And you know it. You shoulder the responsibility. The cross is heavy, but you grit your teeth and keep going.

Those you defend might not show thanks. They might not even be aware of your effort, but that’s okay. You don’t seek praise. That’s not what you’re about. You don’t need an emotional blanket. You’ve got thick skin after all these years.

Still, the responsibility can be crushing. Maybe it’s not just one thing, but a collection of heavy duties all at once. You wonder, how can I carry it all?

Suddenly, you get a glimpse of your fragility, and it makes you hesitate. 

A man came to my door yesterday selling socks and hand towels to make ends meet. Diego lives with his wife, 6 children, and his granddaughter. He sells door to door so his kids can study and hope for a better future.

Diego’s neighborhood is rough. He’s been stabbed twice while walking the streets of La Matanza. When he’s out working, this man worries about the safety of those back home. If he misses work, his family might not eat that day. Diego is the last line of defense. 

Meanwhile, another battle line exists that many have forgotten. They undervalue it. They believe it’s a waste of time since they feel it has no impact. And yes, if you send a cheap slogan about thoughts and prayers, nothing happens. But if you fall to your knees and cry out to Almighty God, heaven and earth will respond.

God’s response is not always what you desire or imagine. Still, it is as real and powerful as love itself.  

So when the pressure mounts, go ahead, dig in your heels. Walk the walk. Carry the load. Stay fiercely loyal. But also, know this. If you start to slip and fall, you will not tumble into the abyss.

Instead, there is greatness behind you. Tremendous power backs you up. The power of God, however, does not create superheroes. Instead, he raises up servants.     

Others may not show thanks. Your efforts might go unnoticed. And there may come a time when things crumble around you. You may end up standing all alone to face a tremendous challenge.

And an ugly beast will rise up telling you, “Now, now, let’s just forget about it all. Forget about your faith. Give up your silly, childish fantasy.” And even though you might be terrified or tempted to shut down, something wonderous will happen instead.

You will draw upon all your past struggles, all those lessons learned, all the prayer, tears, and suffering… and you will stand firm upon the Word of God. On your knees you will gain trust that His hand is upon you. You will dig deep into your core identity and find strength.

You are not a lost and lonely soul. You are a child of God, the offspring of the Most High, the Creator of Heaven and Earth. You are akin to his son Jesus, as his Spirit lives in you. And even the hounds of hell will not take you from his hand.

This is the promise of the Cross and the Resurrection. It is for all that choose to accept and believe. 

This is your place of rest. This is where you receive the tenderness that you may not encounter in the world of demands and responsibility. Here the Lord tells you, Yes, I love you. And I lift you up to me. Fear not my child.

And together, the Body of Christ rises up to defend the poor and brokenhearted. In this world that is sometimes so wicked and cruel, the Body remains solid to defend the breach.

The Body will not be moved from its place of responsibility. It gives generously. It hurts and bleeds if needed. In this Body, some will even give their lives.

And day by day, brick by brick, the Kingdom of Heaven unfolds before you. You get to see it first hand. It is the glory of our Creator.

So take heart, all you faithful sons and daughters of God. Enter into the joy of the Lord.

. . . . . . .

His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’

Matthew 25:21

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