For Those Who Reached Back

What would we do without those who help us up? Not just those who walk beside, but those who wait for us, turn back to go get us, reach out to pull us along, take our hand and don't let go. What we would do without those people in our lives?

Who has done that for you? Think about that a minute. Who has circled back on the path, looking desperately for you, worried that you have gotten lost or hurt or discouraged? Who has backtracked over paths they've already mastered just so they could come back and walk alongside you at the hardest point of the trail? Who has reached out a steady hand, grabbed hold of your shaking one, and pulled you close, pulled you up to higher ground? Who has removed your heavy pack from your shoulders, even if just for a while, and put it on their own, spelling you so you could catch your breath? Who?

Today, let's thank the Lord for those people.

But let's do more than that.

Let's commit to be those people.

Pause for long enough today to really look around you. Where is your husband, your daughter, your friend? Is one of them straggling behind? How is your son doing? Is your sister struggling silently, your niece falling behind, your mother walking more slowly?

Think further out into the circles of your influence. What about the mom whose child is in your child's class? What about the older woman who usually sits behind you in church but has been missing lately? What about the neighbor who walks past you every day, but you haven't seen her in weeks? Is there someone in your life who, now that you think about it, seems to have slowed their pace, lost their way or stumbled upon a barrier?

I'll admit, sometimes I notice, but I don't turn back. Sometimes I hear them breathing heavy, sighing, even weeping, and I keep on my pace. Are you guilty, too? Strangely, I've often regretted not taking the time to reach out; I've never regretted the times I have.

Oh Father, I am so grateful for those who have cared enough to come after me, to turn back for me, to reach out for me. You have been good and they have been faithful.

Help me to be as faithful, as compassionate, as concerned, as willing. Help me to remember that there is no glory in getting to the finish line alone; but the joy is journeying together, helping each other to succeed, to climb higher, to get there.

“Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”

 “The one who showed mercy to him,” he said.
Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.”
Luke 10:36-37

Who has reached back for you? What did that look like in your life? Why did it matter?

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