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I stood on stage before a group of about 45 leaders last Tuesday morning as part of my weekly routine with Bible Study Fellowship. Part of my role as Substitute Teaching Leader is to give a short message on a doctrinal truth to encourage, grow, and challenge our leaders. 

The topic for last week was suffering

In my head I knew that our sweet pup, Madie, was coming to the end of her life. I was devastated at the thought, but as I stood before the leaders, I was determined to not let it show.

I put on a smile.

I put on bright eyes.

I even made a joke.

I began to speak. All went well as I focused on Elijah’s suffering, not my own. 

But then I posed the question, “How are you suffering today?”

My voice cracked. I tried to take a deep breath. I tried to keep it together. I tried to hide it. 

But the tears began. 

My always cheerful heart was breaking.

– – – – – – – – – –

There is a lot I could say about this past week of grieving Madie dying. And most likely, I will, but for today, I want to call you to 

pay attention to 

that which is hidden.

– – – – – – – – – –

We all have a story. And behind every face that you lay eyes on, there are scars of life lived. Some may be healed scars, but others are gaping wounds from which one’s heart is bleeding. 

Suffering comes in all different shapes and sizes. The death of a child, the loneliness of a lost friendship, a dream not fulfilled, doubt in your once unshakeable faith, fear of the unknown, verbal abuse, depression, loss, death of a family member who happens to have four legs.

No two sufferings are the same. 

And there is no prescribed way to walk through suffering. We all suffer in unique ways with unique responses. 

Pay attention to that which is hidden in another.

– – – – – – – – – – 

When you come across another today – at work, at school, at home, in the store, at the traffic light, even online – 

Be kind.

Be gracious.

Be compassionate.

Be willing to listen.

Represent Christ with a smile of love, a tender word, a silent prayer. 

Look and see beyond the exterior. 

The person that you are looking at is an image bearer of God Himself. 

And you have no idea of the life they have lived. 

Jesus gazed on others with love. He saw beyond their exterior and saw their heart. Luke 13 tells the story of a crippled woman. She was suffering physically on the outside, but her heart must have been broken over the life that she had lived, the dreams unfulfilled, the loss of what was. While others cast her aside, Jesus looked on her with compassion. He called her forward and He healed her.

We may not be able to heal someone physically or fix their situation or end their suffering, but we can be a light in their darkness. We can be the intercessor for them. We can be the one who tenderly guides them to Jesus with just our presence. 

Pay attention to that which is hidden.

Be the light of Christ.

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light…” Ephesians 5:8.

God, give us eyes to see and may we be your light.

And old one but a goodie – 


  • Avatar Matthew James Johnston says:

    Truer words have not been spoken,
    we all need to be patient with one another, in today’s society things are strange and we are all struggling to deal with everything. All it takes is a hand shake or kind words to brighten someone’s day.
    Many blessings to you and your family.

  • Avatar Rick Kane says:

    It reminded me of the time someone simply asked me “how are you?” and the tears flowed. Grief comes in waves and sometimes when we try to control it is when just the simplest things will bring it out. But ti isn’t just grief ,it can be any bit of your story which is hidden but needs to come into the light.

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