I am purposely spending significant amounts of time in Bible study, devotionals, and reading books that encourage me to live a life of faith. I'm just very hungry and thirsty for it right now. For quite a long time, I've felt spiritually attacked and just trying to keep my head above water. But as I began to pray for Him to move my heart from survival mode to thriving mode, I'm finding that happening through the pages of Scripture, inspired and honest authors, study groups and pen and paper. Yes, this girl is notebook and journal obsessed. It's addiction level! ;) I also know that in just a few weeks my attention span greatly takes a nose dive as we start year 16 of homeschooling. I need extra "stored" in my tank so that I have enough to pour out and still sustain my own needs. Each day will have its own manna, but let's get real... it's harder to attain when you're spread thin or distracted.
Today I was working in Beth Moore's "Entrusted study. Technically the study just ended and I'm only half way through, but I'm still pressing forward. It's an in-depth study of 2 Timothy. I already loved this specific book (letter), but her incredible teaching ability has illuminated so much more than I thought possible. She doesn't just do a study that says fill in the blank. No spoon feeding! Honestly, many times I feel like I don't know the answer even though I'm looking straight at the book and the Bible. But that's ok. That's why we keep learning and being a student. Later this week will mark 32 years of my personal relationship with Christ and I feel like I'm barely scratching the surface of knowledge.
But, today's teaching...
Spoke directly and plainly to my heart.
Honestly, it moved me to tears.
"And, while you're at it, don't give up on humanity. There are still Onesiphoruses in the world. Be one until you are found by one. "
BE ONE UNTIL YOU ARE FOUND BY ONE
Let me back up and explain in case you aren't familiar with Onesiphorus.
Onesiphorus searched HARD for Paul until he found him Scripture says. He wasn't ashamed that Paul was in chains. "He refreshed me," Paul says. For Onesiphorus to get to Paul took extreme effort. Travel from Ephesus to Rome wasn't just a quick hop on a bus. Though getting to the city itself was hard, Paul was imprisoned in an undisclosed location. Hidden away and under guard. I just finished reading the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers and though it was a fictional work, scripture really came alive as I was reading it because I could just picture the journey. Though this is a great understatement: it took work and commitment to find him.
Beth writes in her study that we all long to be earnestly searched for and found by somebody wonderful. We may not admit it, but even those with the toughest exteriors have that longing. "We yearn to know there are people who'd diligently search for us if we are missing. People who'd swim the ocean to get to us if we were stranded on an island. We want to be worth looking for. Worth not giving up on."
Even rereading and typing those words has tears streaming. Again.
Haven't you felt that way at times? Even, perhaps, right now. Many of us carry deep wounds of being abandoned, deserted, not fought for. Maybe we've felt so invisible or alone, even while surrounded by a crowd. Oh, dear ones, I understand those scars. Whether by a parent, a family member, a spouse or a friend, it hurts.
I love how she reminds us that with Christ, we are "audaciously searched for and passionately found." Yes, that is beautiful beyond words. His redemption and love for us knows no bounds.
However, our hearts might ache to have a physical being, someone we can physically reach out and touch, feel that way about us. We all want to know that we have an Onesiphorus in our lives. That ache may run even deeper when we've felt the opposite from someone. Most especially someone that should have loved is unconditionally but didn't.
What do we do when we aren't sure we have someone like that? Or when we wish we had more than just one?
BE ONE UNTIL YOU ARE FOUND BY ONE
Recommit to being a friend. Reach out to a neighbor. Serve someone in need. Show kindness to someone that is rude. Look for the lonely. Encourage. Build bridges. Let someone know they are seen and valuable. Forgive. Get off a screen and look someone in the eyes. Get in touch with someone that matters to you---maybe you've been using the I'm too busy excuse --- reconnect. Put your spouse as a priority.
Just be one.
It's why I'm so PASSIONATE about "happy mail", sending handwritten cards and being an encouragement. We often don't realize how much our "small" effort might make an enormous difference to someone else. If the Holy Spirit puts someone on your heart, be obedient, even if it feels awkward or even "not enough". Our words may seem trivial, but we might be that Onesiphorus for someone at a crucial life point. And I've often said it and will say it again and again, when you care for and encourage others, you will find yourself encouraged in the process. Guaranteed.
And while you're showing someone they are worth fighting for, you might find that someone is fighting to get to you. Without a doubt, Christ most definitely finds you that valuable. He moved heaven and earth. He inscribed you on the old of his hand. Cling to that.