I’ve heard these words a few thousand times; “I’ll be thinking about you.” I’ve had seasons in my life that have been beyond my capacity to cope well. In those seasons, I’ve never needed someone to think about me. I’ve needed folks to pray for me, assist me, and most importantly – BE THERE!
The phrase, “God will never give you more than you can handle” is both untrue and frustratingly illogical. There have been times throughout the Holy Scriptures that God indeed placed more on His People than they could handle. Here are a few: Moses, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Nehemiah, Elisha, Elijah, and we haven’t even gotten to the New Testament!
We will most certainly have days that we cannot handle “it.” And, it is in those times that the Divine will step in and carry you through “it.”
That teaching is for another day. Today, I’d like to chat a bit about what we can do for folks that are going through “it.” But this isn’t pretty and wrapped up in a clean linen cloth saturated in sweetness and words of comfort. It is the cold, hard truth about what Followers of Jesus can do, and should do.
If you know someone going through a storm, there are five stages of help you can offer them in a very tangible way.
- PRAY! You don’t need permission to pray for someone. You don’t need to tell people you are praying for them, but if you do, make doggone sure that you are and have been praying. I believe it is utterly sinful to convey that you are praying and you have not prayed. “I am praying for you” is not a kind thing to say – It is a HOLY thing to say. Treat those words with great respect.
- DO SOMETHING TANGIBLE IF YOU CAN! Send a meal, Write a note, cut their grass, pay for a cleaning service, shuttle their kids, or any number of helpful efforts. But folks, listen! Going to the home and hanging around with the folks in need might be more stressful for them than sending them a gift card, or a meal service. Do what’s best for them, not what’s convenient for you.
- HELP THEM FINANCIALLY! But before you do, check your motivation. Are you willing to send these folks a financial gift, even if they never know where it came from? If so, use a church, or another pass through to help you assess the real need.
- SEND A HAND WRITTEN NOTE! In an age of digital communications, one of the most meaningful ways to convey your care and concern for them is a handwritten note. Yes, email is more convenient…that’s why all of our inboxes are slammed with Spam. A real pen to paper note, hand addressed and hand stamped. That costs you something.
- CONSIDER HELPING THEIR FAMILY! One of the best ways people have cared for me is through caring for my wife and children. Often times the best way to minister to and care for folks in the middle of “it” is to minister to their family.
Here is the SINGLE BEST WAY TO MINISTER TO ANYBODY! Be there for them. Not with a quip or a verse. Not with a story of someone you knew going through the same thing. Not with some pithy statement about how it’s not as bad as you think. JUST BE THERE! Talk less, listen more, pray hard.
The Divine was clear on this: We will be known by how we love one another. In times of great stress, poor health, financial worry, death, divorce or a broken heart – BE THERE and do what you can!
If you are in the middle of “it” today, please send me a note. I promise to faithfully pray for you and do any of the above that I can.