Are You Feeling Someone’s Grief?

We all feel for others. When a loved one is down, we feel down as well. We even feel pain for people we don’t know. A news broadcast might show a family that is grieving after a tornado destroys their home. We feel that pain as if it’s our own. Human empathy is a beautiful gift God has given to us, so we can comfort and support each other through life’s hardships.

For intercessors, especially those with a burden-bearing gift, this feeling can be even stronger. We can literally pick up on emotions from others – even when they are not around us and we don’t know what they are going through. The pain that person is experiencing can literally overcome us, body, soul, and spirit. God might be allowing us to feel a part of their grief, so we can invite Him into that place with His comfort.

Yesterday, I was suddenly overcome with grief. It just descended like a cloud. I literally had to go to bed in the early evening as I was overcome with sadness. There was no apparent reason for this. Nothing was wrong with me and I was having a good day. Then I received a text about a friend who had just learned some tragic news.

Barely did the news process than I started wailing. Deep anguish took over me and I just wept and cried out. This went on for a while, as I prayed, and then I was able to get up and go about my evening, albeit subdued at the thought of what my friend was enduring. I continued to pray a lot until it was really time for bed.

Burden bearing for an intercessor can look and feel that way. It’s important for you and your family to understand what it is and how to move through it. Otherwise, you can feel as if you’re losing your mind.

When emotions come over you out of nowhere, and you don’t know why, stop and ask God, “Is this mine, or is this for someone else?” He will show you. If what you are feeling is for someone else, ask Him to lead you in prayer for that person. You might not even know who the person is; that’s okay, because God knows. Follow His lead in prayer.

As you pray, invite God to come into that place of pain and lift the burden. This is important. You are not the one to carry the burden, nor can you. It is for Jesus to carry. He allows you to feel part of the burden so you will invite Him with your prayers. Especially in situations of grief or recent trauma, the burden can often be too heavy for the person going through it. As an intercessor and friend, you have the privilege to invite God to lift that portion that they cannot bear. Jesus Himself will bear it for and with them.

Be sure you pray through this, giving all of it to God. Don’t try and bear these burdens on your own strength. They are very real and can affect you in ways God does not intend. It’s important to learn how to bear burdens rightly. Once you have prayed through each burden, ask God to lift the burden from you and cleanse you, so that you don’t take it into your own flesh. Ask Him to seal what He has done, and thank Him.

I can recommend two excellent books that will help you know if you are a burden bearer and how to use this gift in the right ways:

Sharing the Burden by Christa and Dirk Luling – This book takes a practical approach to the personality and daily life of a burden bearer. It teaches about what burden bearing looks like and how to live in a healthy way as a burden bearer. This book is especially insightful for parents of burden-bearing children and teens. But it will also help burden-bearing adults recognize and learn how to live with this gift.

The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity by Carol A. Brown – This book takes a spiritual approach to the gift of burden bearing. When you recognize yourself in these pages, you will feel like a light has come on. You are not crazy. You’re not alone. It’s a gift.

Burden bearing is a beautiful gift from God. If you have this gift, or if you see it in your children, it is important for you and your family to learn everything about it. Learn to use it in the way God intended, and you will have the privilege to come alongside others and God, to invite His comfort and healing in life’s difficult situations.

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