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She brushed past us in the school hallway. Her shoulders sagged beneath the weight of brimming tears. Flushed cheeks and nose betrayed her struggle to withhold sobs. She avoided eye contact.  The girl continued down the hall in silence, as if she hoped to take cover before the cry burst forth.

Did she know I prayed for her? As a complete stranger to her, I didn’t dare stop her or say anything that might add embarrassment to her morning. Of the dozen sorrow triggers I can imagine for high school orientation, I had no idea which one crushed her heart. I cannot say whether she whisked home without a single friend to ask what was wrong. I don’t know where she broke open to release that imminent flood of tears.

Perhaps the girl believed her stifled cries went unnoticed. If so, I pray she learns the truth. Though she’ll never know I cared, may her heart come to know One Who loves her without limit. If she sobs in a subterranean cave or weeps at the bottom of the sea, His heart will feel each stab of her pain. No cry is hidden from His ear.

I plead with the Holy Spirit to bring her a friend who will impart Christ’s love to her. She should not continue to feel unheard, unseen, or alone in her suffering. In more ways than one, she is not alone. Far too many people struggle in silent isolation from others, unaware of how precious they are to God. Christ reaches toward the lost and broken with compassion-scarred hands. I wish more people knew that He hears every moan and cherishes each tear as part of His own heart’s pain.

We can become the flesh of His embrace, reaching out to share love with the outcasts and the crushed souls. Whether today’s call is to prayer, an intimate conversation, or a blog post, the Spirit will prompt us. Offer hope. Show them Who cares. Though culture insists on qualifications like intelligence, vigor, or status, God seeks heartfelt obedience. Those who listen to the Spirit can brighten the world. One shivering soul at a time. In these chilling times, a throng of suffering hearts depends on us.

 

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:17-18).

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
     and provide for those who grieve” (Isaiah 61:1-3).

“When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate” (Exodus 22:27).

“You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed” (Psalm 10:17-18)

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering” (Isaiah 53:4).

“You Yourself have recorded my wanderings.
Put my tears in Your bottle.
Are they not in Your records?” (Psalm 56:7-8)

 

Sunshine honeys the rain-washed oaks. Clover patches huddle among blades of rye grass. The breeze whirls across varied shades of green, stirring the earth to behold the infinite blue marvel overhead. Jasmine blooms near the mailbox, drawing brilliant hummingbirds to visit my lawn. I search the landscape, but fail to pinpoint the hue I seek. Nature’s kaleidoscope erupts before me on this magnificent spring afternoon. Yet, all the colors in the world fall short of a ray of hope.

Sparrows twitter alongside the doves’ cooing. A tree frog resounds from the puddle near my doorstep. Wind-strummed reeds complete the melody. Yet, all the world’s harmony falls short of  the song of hope.

Sourdough bread delights my palate. Creamy chai mingles spices across my tongue and warms me to the core. Bits of chocolate swimming in cream whirl me into a decadent food buzz. Yet, all the world’s culinary treats cannot satisfy my hunger for the flavor of hope.

I miss the brush of a baby’s cheek against my face. Orchid petals slide against the tip of my nose,reminiscent of that infant silkiness. I savor the grip of a friend’s hand and cherish a lingering hug. Yet, all the world’s most precious touches cannot compare with the embrace of hope.

Resurrected souls bear witness to a broader spectrum of color, music, and comprehensive joy than our experience on earth permits. Scripture promises God’s glory illuminates heaven, so we will require no other light than His presence. Creation’s majesty remains a mere echo of the true satisfaction for which our spirits yearn. 

I long for hope, but won’t find it in the world around me. I must search beyond the tangible to attain true fulfillment. The Creator sculpted these surroundings as arrows to point my gaze toward Him, after all.

 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

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