My new bunkie said to me on his first night in my cell, “So, not only do you work on radios, but I see you counsel people, too.” He had overheard me talking to another man outside our cell who was upset.
His comment gave me pause because I hadn’t even realized I was counseling the man. In my eyes, I’d just let him vent about his problem and then offered insight on how to look at his situation more positively. I have to admit, I’d been getting tired of his complaining and was wishing he’d go away and leave me in peace, but God gave me the patience and love to care enough to listen.
Most of the time, listening is what people need the most.
Just lending an open ear can alleviate another person’s burden when something is weighing heavily on their mind. Listening is a simple way to fulfill Galatians 6:2 that instructs us to “carry each other’s burdens, and in this way…fulfill the law of Christ.”
However, being in tune with the needs of others requires us to put aside our own burdens for a while. We can’t discern others’ needs if we are always focused on our own needs and problems.
Doing this takes humility.
God has been dealing with me a lot lately on the topic of humility. In particular, about letting go of my burdens and giving them to Him. Only when I release my burdens can I help carry the cares of another.
Amazingly, God takes care of my needs when I compassionately tend to the needs of others. Here’s why: when I focus on other people rather than myself, I become God’s workman, a vessel through which His love can flow. The same is true for you.
According to 1 John 4:12, “if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is made complete in us” (NIV). His love is perfected in us and brought to its fullest expression. Our problems are swallowed up in His love.
It’s a crazy thing. When God’s love flows through us to others, His love works for us as well. We become healed in every way as His love passes through us—in our minds, bodies, emotions, and spirits.
When we help meet the needs of others, God meets our needs at the same time. He supplies all of our needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). His love never fails.
Do you have a burden? Jesus is the best listener there is—and He invites you to bring your problems to Him. “Come to me,” He says, “all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
You can go to God with any burden, any time. First Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray without ceasing.” If this is God’s instruction, then we can assume He also listens without ceasing. As He listens, He loves and comforts like no other. And when we are comforted by God, then we can comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:4).
I encourage you to seek God’s comfort every day by laying your burdens at Jesus’s feet. There, He’ll give you the strength to face whatever comes. His mercies are new every morning. Then, seek to be a comfort to others. In doing so, you will become even more comforted. It’s part of an amazing cycle of God’s love. He’s waiting to give it to you today.
Just ask for it—God’s always listening.