I've had this post in mind for awhile but haven't had a chance to write lately. And I'm not sure it really says all I want it to, but it'll do for a start...I'll change it if God gives me another direction for it!
Piling on is a football term for when a runner is tackled and the play is over, but then one or more other players "pile on" top of the runner, even though he is already down. You see this especially when there is a fumble--someone dives for it, then someone else, and pretty soon there's twelve guys all piled on top of each other. Did that tenth guy REALLY think he was gonna come up with the ball? Of course not, he just wanted to be part of the action.
Sometimes, it seems like Life is "piling on," as has been the case for a couple of my friends lately.
One close friend has been trying for several years to adopt two boys from a foreign country; recently her family accepted God's call to MOVE to that country as full-time missionaries. THEN her dad was diagnosed with late stage lung cancer, and also lost his job of 38 years.
Another dear friend has recently faced surgery on her dad which turned into a near-death episode and a long hospital stay; the diagnosis of late stage cancer in her brother, who is already paralyzed from a car accident years ago; her own fairly major surgery and recovery; and most recently, a scare with a bad report on a test her mom. Not to mention that she now has a teenage driver, which is enough stress for anyone!
This two friends were there for me when life was "piling on" for me a couple of years ago...in a five-month period, I lost my father, my house and my job, and my will to keep going on. And so, to watch them face these trials, well, you just wish you could make it all better. But I can't...I do, however, know the One who can!!
It was on the day that she got the bad test results for her mom though, that I witnessed a different version of "piling on." During choir practice, we always have a time for prayer...after all the requests had been voiced that night, our choir director said that he just felt a special need for us to really pray for my friend who has had SO many things happening lately. But rather than just have someone pray for her (which is good, I encourage that!!), he asked that we all actually gather around her and pray. So, there were all were, like one great big pile, covering the one person in the middle who had the ball.
Only the ball wasn't a football, it was the "ball" of problems that life had been piling on. And as we all gathered around her, and prayed, one at a time, for specific needs in her life and in the life of her family...well, God joined us there. "Whenever two or more are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20
Prayer works, anyway, whether you are alone in your bed or surrounded by 5,00o others...but when believers come together, physically, and earnestly seek God together...well, something truly supernatural happens! It happened that night...I think we ALL left that huddle with lighter spirits, lightened burdens. And oh, yeah, those test results? They turned out to be fine...
It is time for Christians to start "piling on" each other. Instead of shooting our own wounded, we need to take the stance that we will leave no one behind. The marines will risk their own lives, to go back for a wounded, or even a dead, comrade...they will not leave them alone.
Our churches today are too often sanctuaries full of individuals trying to make it on their own, instead of the Body of Christ, banded together. Too often, we live each other alone to fight our battles...and the devil loves it!! It's so much easier to defeat one isolated soldier, than to have to face the whole battalion!!
Not even sure WHY I picked these two verses, but they just keep coming to mind as I type this:
"Troubled on every side, yet not distressed, we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken, cast down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 10:37