On September 13, Australia had celebrated a day that is known as R U Ok?Day. RU Ok?Day is actually a national day there, and it’s held the second Thursday of September. This day is focused on building awareness of people– asking people if they are okay and being genuinely supportive. Too often we overlook our fellow man and neglect to see the struggles they are going through in life. Sadly, some people are hurting so badly and would feel so much better if someone would ask the simple question, are you okay? My family has personally been affected by depression and suicide. It is the sad, but all to real truth.
I remember so many times in life when I was going through a tough period and did not feel like I could talk to anyone. There is the fear of judgment, the fear of rejection, the feeling of hopelessness and lack of support, and a sad road to depression. Sometimes a person simply needs to have support– but it seems like support is hard to come by and then there is the feeling of being alone in the world. I know; I have been there. People need people. God made us to need community.
As Christians, we are never alone. God is always with us. We have the promise of the Holy Spirit so no matter if we are in our car driving along the highway, in the middle of a park, or at home all alone, we are never truly alone. Even so, there are times when it seems as if the world is crushing down upon us and we do not feel like we can handle it. It is at these moments, we really need a hand to reach out to us. The Bible says we are to be there to support others. We are to help the poor, to encourage our fellow Christians, to teach, to share, etc.
Today might be a good day for you and you may be feeling just fine. At the same time, the person next to you might not be doing so well. R U Ok?Day was created to encourage people to ask other people if they are okay. Perhaps you are not from Australia or it is not even the 13th of September where you are located. Even so, when you come upon the next person wherever you may be, ask them if they are okay. Not simply to ask and pass by quickly. Invite them to answer. Be the support that you wish to have on your worst day. That person may need it more than you will ever know.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:23-25 [NASB]
When I was a little kid, I loved to play pinball. If you look at a pinball machine, you will see it has the paddles at the bottom. Sometimes there are paddles up in different areas as well. There’s lots of noise. You shoot the ball up and the ball’s all over the place. It’s hard to really focus on where the ball is because your eyes have to go so fast. That is a lot like life.
We try to have time with God. We’ll sit and open up our Bibles. We’ll try hard. We will even listen to the Bible in the car as we are driving. While we are doing that, our cell phones are ringing. Horns are blowing. Things are happening. As a parent, I know I’ll sit down determined to read my Bible. Then I hear, “Mom, mom…” It could even be the dog barking or someone knocking at the door. Something is always going on.
In life we are standing there, and we keep on hearing all this noise. We are trying to keep our focus on God but it’s so hard. You keep on focusing everywhere else and you can’t focus where you need to focus.
I find that it’s important to take all the bells and whistles and put them all away, to take the cell phone and put that aside. You need to have yourself a special area, a special time, a special something where you can be alone with God– where you can read His Word and where you can pray. We need to be able to be alone and meditate and allow the Spirit to speak to us about what we are praying for and what we are reading. It’s hard to do that with all of the bells and whistles in the world. When we are listening to others… When we have full schedules and so m any activities that we don’t have that peace. Only Jesus can give us that peace and if we don’t have the time to take to listen and to have that peace, then we are never going to get it.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:19, it says, “Do not quench the Spirit.” Verse 21-22 says, “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” It’s very important to not quench the Spirit and if we are not allowing the Spirit to be heard because everything else is bouncing around in life and we have all the bells and whistles and the board is almost on tilt, it gets to be a little hectic. We get overloaded and the board tilts and we have to wonder: is it tilting because of everything that is going on or is it because of God? Sometimes it can be from outside influences and sometimes it can be God.
The problem is we keep on pushing the buttons rather than lifting our hands and removing them from the paddles. We need to find out if it’s tilting because God wants us to go in a certain direction or if it is ourselves or others making the board tilt. Removing the bells and whistles is how we effectively listen. We need to hear what God is actually saying. In the end it is all about who is controlling the pinball machine. Is it you? Is it the outside people? Or is it God?