Have you ever watched the Disney movie The Lion King? There’s a scene towards the end of the movie where Zazu (he’s the blue bird that looks like a parrot) is placed in jail. (Okay, it’s the ribcage of a dead animal, but to a bird, it’s jail.) He begins to sing a mournfully sad song before Scar stops him and asks him to sing a happier song with more bounce to it. Although I’m not a fan of Scar, I understand why he wanted Zazu to sing a different song. The words to the song Zazu chose to sing before he was told to sing a more cheerful song was, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Nobody knows my sorrow.”
Not a particularly happy song, is it? Yet if we’re honest, we’ve all had times we’ve felt like singing a dirge like Zazu’s. Sickness has a way of isolating a person so that he feels he is all alone in his pain and sadness. This is especially true when a person is too sick to work or attend church. When that happens, the person who is sick finds his world getting smaller and smaller, until there comes a point when his world has shrunk so much, it only includes that individual.
In verse fourteen Paul says, “Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.” Maybe it’s just me, but I like the phrase “share with me in my affliction.” I like the idea of knowing beyond any shadow of a doubt I’m not alone in my suffering. Yet the majority of us are more like Zazu singing, “Nobody Knows.” Granted, part of our isolation is simply the nature of a chronic illness. Sickness often dictates we stay home and rest while others go out and have a good time, but that’s not the entire story. Oftentimes, after so many missed outings and family gatherings, we get used to being alone. We can become so accustomed to standing on the sidelines we forget to let others join us.
I realized almost a year ago that I had done this very thing. True, I still couldn’t go out in public the majority of the time, but I had a cell phone and a computer. Yet even when I talked with others, I didn’t let them inside the walls I had built around my heart. My problem was one that Josie mentioned in her last blog, “Little White Lies.” Not everyone who asked how I was doing actually took the time to listen to me, and then there were those who didn’t respond well to my being sick. They began to treat me like I had leprosy and would avoid me at all cost. Because of this, my standard reply for when someone asked me how I was feeling became, “I’m fine.” What I failed to realize is that not all people are too busy to listen or will have a negative reaction to my illness. Most people genuinely care, but without me engaging them in a conversation and being vulnerable, they can’t listen or show they care because they aren’t given the chance.
The phrase “share with me in my affliction” is actually very interesting in the original Greek language. The word Paul used for “share” is a combination of the words “partnership” and “fellowship,” and “affliction” means “burden.” So to have someone share with us in our afflictions is to have someone help ease the burden of our sickness. The disease doesn’t go away, but the burden and heartache that comes with it isn’t ours to deal with alone.
So for those who are singing, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen; nobody knows my sorrow,” it might be the reason why nobody knows what you’re going through is because you haven’t shared that burden with anyone. If this is the case, ask God to show you people who want to share your burden, and if you’re still at a loss with whom to talk, Josie and I would love to talk with you and share your burden. Email us or contact us on Facebook. Don’t go another day thinking nobody knows your sorrow because people don’t care. It simply isn't true.
You are loved. You are valued. And you matter. It’s time to tear down the walls you’ve built around your heart, and let others join you in this crazy roller coaster we like to call life.
“Help carry each other’s burdens. In this way you will follow Christ’s teachings.” ~ Galatians 6:2 (GW)
© January 31, 2013