For some reason, today felt different. Just as the storm clouds moved in, I did the opposite. I mounted the trailhead.
Maybe it's the heaviness I feel for my friend who lost one dear to their family last week. Even though I’m not in her inner circle, I want to feel her pain, to intercede on a level far beyond what I could possibly feel. I want to imitate Christ, my High Priest, One who always lives to make intercession for me. (Hebrews 7:25) And like Holy Spirit, whom the Bible describes as interceding “for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26 NASB)
For several years I used to go alone to the World Prayer Center weekly to pray for the nations. One day I was praying for South Sudan, focusing on a report I had read of a badly burned child tossed into a campfire by marauding soldiers. I entered a type of intercession that could only be described as holy, sobbing and wailing for his mother. I had never been to Sudan. I had no personal pain to rival what that mama had endured, and yet, I prayed as if old traumas were stirred.
I inquired of the Lord about my experience, and heard an answer I will never forget: The Sudanese mother had wept all the tears she could weep and was utterly spent. In my comfort, in my ease, yes, even being the mother of two with disabilities and feeling at the end of my own rope, I could still cry out to represent her pain before the Throne of God. Holy Spirit knew the depths of her agony, and invited me to partner with Him in expression. In doing so, I'm convinced both that young mother and I were strengthened.
We can't manufacture these experiences with God, but we can set ourselves up for them. We set ourselves up for them by making ourselves available to God by emptying ourselves of our own concerns long enough to enter into the pain of others.
Really praying for those we love who are suffering more than we are.