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When I Need it Most

by SARAH DEAL GRACE Burn out Connecting with nationals Compassion
When I Need it Most
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Hebrews 4:16

I guess you could say God made me a sensitive person. It’s usually easy for me to empathize with how others are feeling, but with that comes an uncanny ability to carry the emotional weight of the world on my shoulders. This aspect of my personality only intensified when we moved overseas and lived in the middle of an overcrowded, bustling city in Asia. 

Over the course of nine years, we lived in five different houses, and in each neighborhood, there were extreme needs. Some families were just scraping by with enough to feed their children or pay for their education. One family came to the point of sending their children to live at an orphanage for several years just so they could go to school and have adequate food. There were other friends from church and from town with big needs as well, and it was a struggle for me to come face to face with such needs day after day. 

I struggled with many conflicting feelings. Guilt: Why did I have so much when they have so little? Desperation: How can I possibly help everyone? Frustration: Do they expect me to help everyone? Depression: How do I shoulder all these hurts and needs on my own? Anger: Why doesn’t everyone just leave me alone?! 

What a mess! But oh, the freedom that comes as I remember that I am not alone. In heaven, there stands for me a great High Priest and a gracious God, who waits for me to pour out my heart before the throne. There I find mercy, not just for me, but for the world. There, the mercy of God overwhelms me and spills over into all my relationships. There I find grace when I need it most. And when do I need it most? When I am weak. When I’ve run dry. And you know what else? He says to come boldly. BOLDLY! That’s grace. Grace enough for this sensitive, thin-skinned girl, and grace enough for all her needy neighbors and friends. And friend, He’s got enough for you, too!!

Closing Prayer
Dear Father, thank you for your mercies that begin afresh every morning! Great is your faithfulness to us (Lamentations 3:23)! Help us to remember as we come face to face with hurting people each day that you are enough to meet their need! Help us to lean hard on you, and to depend on your mercy and your grace to pour through us and into the lives of others. We praise you for your compassion on us, and that you never tire or grow weary of carrying the weight of all we bring to you! Thank you for your grace that is always ready to help us in time of need. Your grace truly is amazing! Amen.
Article: Compassion Fatigue by Dr. Ronald Koteskey This is a very interesting article on the subject of “compassion fatigue” and global workers. This article includes links to further info and even an online test to take to indicate whether you may be suffering from compassion fatigue yourself. This is a very real concern for many working cross-culturally, and I found it very insightful!
Question for Reflection

The writer of Hebrews makes a point with the word “boldly” in chapter 4, verse 16. Why do you think it may be important that we come to God boldly? Do you think it matters at all?

Sarah Deal
February 09, 2024

I sometimes struggle with coming to God boldly, especially when I feel particularly weak! But I think the context of the verses above help give a clue into what the author was getting at. Verse 15 says of Jesus: “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.” Jesus faced all the temptations we do, and thus he understands all the struggles we face, no matter how seemingly small. He empathizes with us, and because of that, we can be bold! I often will dismiss things in my mind, thinking they are “too small” to ask God for help with. These verses have been such an encouragement to me, knowing that Jesus came as a human, experienced every last detail of human suffering, and was made our perfect High Priest. Because of that, I can enter His presence boldly! I don’t need to hide anything or be ashamed that my request or my struggle is too small because He is compassionate and understands every last weakness!