Not Meant to Struggle Alone

Ericka Harris
Growing up in sunny Southern California, I often enjoyed the waters of the nearby beach. As a young child, I would build sand castles, jump waves, and play “chase” with the oncoming wave.

At the age of 13, our school grade class had a special all-day trip to the beach. Several of my friends and I decided to swim out to the buoy. The buoy, which was 150 meters from shore, was a marker for boats not to enter the swimmer’s area. Never having swam to the buoy before, it was going to be a fun and unforgettable day at the beach!

My friends and I felt overjoyed when we reached the buoy. The waters were calm at the buoy because it passed the area of where the waves crash onto shore. After several hours, the teacher blew her whistle to signal it was time to return to shore.

As I started to swim back, the incoming waves grew many feet above my head and toppled over me pushing me down. This happened several times. I was unaware the tides had changed.

The beach lifeguard, who quickly swam to me with his rescue can, asked me, “Do you need help?” Filled with an independent spirit, I responded, “No, thanks, I’m okay!”

He quickly swam to another classmate who was also struggling. Within the next minute, I tumbled again. Pulled by the wave, I was disoriented. I did not know which direction was toward the surface of the water.

Gasping for air each time I reached the surface, the waves’ force instantly pulled me down again and again until I finally reached the shore. I sat on the sand coughing because I had swallowed salty waters. I never expected this miserable feeling. I regretted not accepting the lifeguard’s help, especially when I saw my classmate who had been brought back to safety by him.

That day was certainly unforgettable. I now have a cautious respect for the mighty ocean waves. More importantly, it reminds me that God never intended that we suffer alone. He brings people alongside us to offer us help. With humility and maturity, I am now more ready and willing to accept their offer.

I also comprehend that other people around me may be struggling and I can be a guide in their journey back to shore: Jesus, our Firm Foundation.

God is also the father of compassion.

One of his compassionate gifts to us is community. This community of the body of Christ is for mutual giving and accepting of help in times of trouble.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 elaborates:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our troubles,
so that we can comfort those in any trouble
with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ,
so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”

There is a beautiful progression: God comforts us so that we can comfort others.

Are you ready to embark on a transformational journey as you learn to bring God’s comfort to another? 

Join us in June 2022 as we explore this topic through a four part series called “Guiding Another through Grief.”

*This course is a Module 2 of "Journeying Through Grief". 
To register for the course, the participants are required to have attended or listened to the recorded sessions of  the"Journeying Through Grief" course.

If you haven't attended the course, the recorded sessions are available under Courses, "Journeying Through Grief [Recorded Only]".

Ericka Lopez - Harris

Ericka Lopez-Harris is, along with Ellen Burany, a presenter stepping alongside participants in the "Journeying Through Grief" course.

She has been serving in cross-cultural ministries since 1992. Most recently, along with her husband and 2 children, they cared for global workers while living in Costa Rica for 7 years.

Ericka desires people to experience God’s loving kindness as one accompanies another during normal yet difficult circumstances in their lives.

She currently serves with Life Impact Ministries and has a degree in Psychology. In two home churches, she also launched the Stephen Ministry program, which trains lay congregation members to provide Christian care for individuals going through a challenging season.