Searing pain overwhelms my senses. I can move my eyes from side to side, but my eyelids seem to be glued shut.
Where am I?
My thoughts begin to swirl and a pounding headache causes me to lose focus.
I strive in vain to open my eyes. My eyelids are too swollen to open beyond a tiny crack.
My body feels numb and I can barely feel my limbs. The slightest movement triggers shooting pain all over me.
I feel the wind blowing around me. My tender wounds begin to burn intensely from the swirling dust that makes contact with it. The jagged rocks that I lay on top of have dug into me, but I am too weak to move.
Slowly, I turn my bruised head towards my left shoulder. My cheek makes contact with the dirt and grit on the path that I journeyed on not too long ago.
I squint, and in the distance, I can barely make out a blurry silhouette. The figure is walking towards me.
My heart starts pounding. I soon see his priestly robe, and a sense of relief slowly sets in.
I am not alone out here.
My emotions well up within me. I want to let out a scream.
PL – PL – PLEA – SE!
My lips remain closed and I can taste blood in my mouth. I doze in and out of consciousness, but I fight with all my might to keep awake. The priest is approaching me and I am certain that I am in plain sight.
I’m in good hands.
Suddenly, I see his sandles shuffle towards the other side of the road.
WHE-RE…ARE YOUUUU GOING?????
Before I knew it, I felt his passing shadow fall on me. The dust displaced by his footsteps hit my open wounds, sending shockwaves of agonizing pain through me once again.
My mouth opens wide, but I can’t make a sound. In utter disbelief, I realize that his footsteps can no longer be heard.
He’s gone. And he left me here to die.
Alone on a Treacherous Road
The route between Jerusalem and Jericho is historically known as a long, lonely stretch fraught with risk. A man chose to travel alone and along the way, he fell into the hands of robbers and suffered greatly. The bandits violently assaulted him and stole his possessions, leaving him for dead.
In our retelling of his story based on The Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 (NLT), it is clear that this man found himself in a helpless condition. To add insult to injury, a priest saw him and crossed the street, ignoring his civic responsibility to assist a human being in need. Another religious man is also noted as having done the same.
The gravely injured man was forsaken by those passing by, until a Samaritan happened upon him. Moved with compassion, the Samaritan bandaged the injured man’s wounds, and disinfected his injuries to ease his pain and prevent infection. The Samaritan also made use of his own donkey to transport him to an inn.
The next day, the Samaritan transferred responsibility for the recovering man’s care to the innkeeper and paid for the man’s stay. The Samaritan also said that he would cover for any additional cost.
Jesus shares this parable to describe a good neighbour. The Samaritan’s selfless actions birthed the principle of the “Good Samaritan,” that forms the basis of legislation in this regard in several countries even today.
All of us are on the same journey called life. Although our circumstances may differ, there are common and rare challenges that may get us off track or cause us to feel as though we have been derailed at some point.
Circumstances that can hinder our progress may include health issues, such as mental illness, relational challenges, lack, injustice, abuse, betrayal, abandonment, and loss. Even those whom we consider to be strong people among us may be affected by such situations at some level.
As we read in the parable, the injured man not only suffered when he was robbed, but his pain deepened at the harsh treatment of those who were on the same route. The passers by saw his plight, but choose to cross the street and continue on with their journey.
No matter how busy life is for us, it is worth the time to reach out to those around us. Just as a roadside flare is used to indicate that there is some kind of problem or an emergency, a person in your life may show certain verbal or non-verbal cues indicating that something is hindering his/her progress in life.
Your compassion – a heartfelt willingness to support someone in need of assistance – will undoubtedly be a source of strength to someone.
Here are some ways that you be compassionate towards others and give due attention to roadside flares:
We live in a hurting world and there are so many needs. Ask the Lord to help you to be a blessing to someone in your daily interactions with others. You might be the answer to someone’s prayer.
Check in with people around you
Be mindful of others who are in your environment – be it at your home, school, work, or even those standing in line to get coffee. You will be surprised at how many people long for someone to say hello or to ask them how they are doing. If you are unable to ask in person, call, text or email them. Your greeting can very well turn someone’s day, or life, around.
Be watchful for roadside flares
Pay attention to verbal and non-verbal cues that someone is in need of assistance or intervention. These signs may include a subtle or noticeable change in attitude, behaviour or interactions. People rarely get to their breaking point in one day. If you notice that someone doesn’t appear to be themselves, ask him/her if everything is okay and if he/she would like to talk. Sadly, people have even chosen to end their lives because they felt that they had no one to listen to their heartache. Reach out as soon as you notice that something is not right with someone around you.
Take time to listen
In your conversations with others, take time to listen without judgment. Someone may share a personal issue that you find challenging to understand. You may not know the answer to their dilemma, but your support through listening and giving encouragement can offer relief. You can also do some research on his/her behalf and find contact information for support organizations that could be of further assistance.
These are simple steps that can demonstrate your concern and offer a helping hand to someone who may be in desperate need.
The gravely injured man in the parable suffered at the hands of robbers and those who showed a lack of concern for his plight. Let’s not allow another person to fall by the wayside. Remain watchful for roadside flares and stop and offer assistance.
Your compassionate response matters!
“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbour now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.” (Proverbs 3:27-28).
If you are facing a difficult situation in life and have no one to talk to, look no further. Please feel free to contact us and we will do our best to connect you with a resourceful person or organization who can assist you. More importantly, we will pray that God will meet you at your point of need and help you to overcome your challenges. You are not alone. There is hope!