I feel like I have been very fortunate in life. I haven't had many hardships or difficulties (by my standards, at least). Sometimes I have felt that I shouldn't say it out loud for fear that something bad would then happen. (Side note: I've been reading Dr. Brene Brown's book Daring Greatly and she calls this "foreboding joy". It is actually refreshing to know that this is fairly common for people and has strategies for being able to embrace joy.)
Anyway, I had been thinking about my feeling that I don't have a lot of drama in my life and yet I know many people dealing with difficult circumstances and pain. I listen and pray and try to keep tabs on how they are doing but feel like I don't have any power or ability to do anything really meaningful to help in their situations. I have been texting a lot with someone who is dealing with and overwhelming situation and one day she said that I seemed to know when something was going on with her and would text or email her when she needed it. I responded that it was God prompting me to contact her (which is true).
Recently I had the thought that perhaps I don't have a lot of drama going on is so that I can listen to what is going on with other people and help carry their burden through encouragement, support and prayer. I shared this with a good friend of mine and she seemed to think it was possible. A couple of days later I found Galatians 6:2 in my morning quiet time. "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Okay then. That sounds like confirmation to me. The next day, she texted me her devotion reading for the day called Attentive to People's Needs. Here's an excerpt from it:
Are the people around you happy, or are they struggling in some area of life? Maybe the real question is: Are you attentive enough that you would recognize the difference?
Although we may not be able to solve all their problems, a simple word of encouragement is sometimes enough to lift the weight of the world off their shoulders. But to do that we have to be tuned in to the lives of the people around us and God's leading. Be willing to stop, listen and care.
The devotion ended with Galatians 6:2. Apparently this is God's message for me right now. I pray that I can be faithful to follow his leading through the Holy Spirit.
Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.