J. Marshall Jenkins

Author, Therapist, Spiritual Director

The Welcome That Lights the Night: Pass It On

Give the welcome that lights the night.

Dear Wounded Healer,

As you listen to the pain of someone who comes to you for care, you may well ask with the psalmist, “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1)

Yet as you sense the suffering Christ in that person, you may also exclaim with the soldier with blood-stained hands holding a hammer at the foot of the cross, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” (Mark 15:39)

In both cases, you speak from your heart, even from your faith, and God who wants heart-to-heart encounter with you, welcomes you.

Retreat to the rich air of the woods. Walk and hear the birds. Let the wind caress your neck and the brook cool your feet. Here God meets you.

But a god who meets you only in such welcoming places cannot be the one, true God. For God who is love searches you, knows you, and seeks you wherever you flee. God welcomes you where no one else welcomes you (see Psalm 139).

The listening you offer to a child of God is a parable of God’s love. You welcome with your silent attention and resonant words the suffering one who otherwise feels unwelcome by others and even by herself.

Where the world is a cornucopia overflowing with the fruits of God, there indeed is God. Praise God there.

Yet, where the world is a desert, dry and draining, there indeed is God. Seek God there, and then you praise all the more.

If you do not contend with God for seeming absent when you or someone you care about suffers needlessly, how could you meet God? For otherwise, you would be absent.

But if you forget that God invited you to this person to share the suffering of God’s Son, you will forget to welcome God who already invited and welcomed you (Matthew 25:31-46).

You cannot minister to anyone unless you let the light of God nourish you as sunlight nourishes a flower. Like a flower, open yourself to the light, even when you see only darkness, and pray:

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you (Psalm 139:11-12).


Your Inner Voice of Love

Posts in the Wounded Healers Blog are messages of gentle encouragement I give to myself and offer to you as messages you may adopt for yourself. For further context, visit the home page.


J. Marshall Jenkins

About J. Marshall Jenkins

J. Marshall Jenkins is an author, psychotherapist, teacher, and spiritual director. For several years he has been writing on the Beatitudes for people in emotional pain, publishing biweekly here on his Beatitudes Blog at http://www.jmarshalljenkins.com. His newest book, Blessed at the Broken Places: Reclaiming Faith and Hope with the Beatitudes, is now available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


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