This morning I remember the despair that comes from self-focus and self-absorption. I recall the day I read Isaiah 58:10 for the first time in college. It was a strange and inverted kind of promise from God. It read: “If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” A few verses earlier, I read how, if we care for others, than “[our] healing will quickly appear.”
Oh, how I needed healing! Oh, how I felt the darkness and night in my own soul!
I tend to think I must focus more and more on myself and my own internal struggles as a way to eventually find healing, but here, I listen to the Lord’s invitation to care for others as a pathway out of darkness and pain.
Back in college, I was miserable as I thought about all my unmet needs and complained about all the bitter things. But I listened closely to God’s words, and that very day, I went to volunteer at a shelter.
Now, I ask God to show me how and where to meet the needs of the oppressed. Where and how can I bless and serve? Where and how can I provide care? To whom?
It’s a wonderful freedom to take my eyes off myself.