This week has been heavy. It's funny how the Lord, right after you teach, preach, study, or have some revelation over something will plant it right in your path. As if life is a better teacher. We started the year off at The Brook looking at the story in Mark 4 of Jesus calming the storm and acknowledging the WHEN, not IF, about it in our lives. There's a storm on the horizon. Are we prepared for it? So like I said, this week's been heavy because several people in our church family sailed right into the squall. And what I think the Lord has struck me with is that more often than not we need to be prepared to grab someone else's sail with them - to bear the burden of another - than to walk through our own storm.
Some friends are living part-time in the NICU, praying for their daughter, born Christmas Eve at 25 weeks. (1 lb. 11 oz.) When she arrived it had to seem like Jesus was in the stern of the boat "asleep on the cushion". But He is calming the storm, as we are collectively praying that this little one will be a walking miracle, testifying to His glory and power. PLEASE pray with us for Varissa! Lord, nurture, raise up, and take this little life and use it to bring glory and honor to Your Name!
Another friend was taking her elderly father to an appointment early this week when he suddenly passed away. While he was not in good health, there are certain things you're just never fully prepared for. She was with her dad when he went home to be with the Lord. There's no description for the grief that's somehow wrapped in peace in those moments.
And even another young lady new to our church family found out yesterday that her dad passed away in St. Louis. Storms don't go away. They just subside for awhile. I think they just want to lull us to sleep to see if we'll be seduced by the imaginary horizon.
Here's why I'm writing this. In those moments, we very often are at a loss for words. We don't know what to say. You might think, "I guess this is what pastors are for." WRONG! We often don't know what to say either. None of us are sure if we should send flowers, go by and visit, take them a meal, tell a joke, or shed tears. We don't know how to dress, how to act, or what to say. Yes, Romans 12:15 tells us to "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." And so we do. But we're just not sure if we did it right. And often, our fear, apprehension, and uncertainty leads us to do the one thing that in those moments is simply unthinkable: NOTHING.
When someone you love - someone you care about - is hurting, grieving, mourning, or walking through the struggle, the most important thing you can do is also the most simple thing you can do: BE THERE. BE PRESENT.
Years later, they're not going to remember (or even care) what you wore to their mom's funeral or what it was you cooked for them and brought over. (Can you imagine. 5 years after your dad died. You're all sitting around and your cousin says, "Man! Do you guys remember that cream corn casserole that lady made? WOW!" I don't see it happening.) Most people are not going to remember what you said - as if in the midst of grieving we're all looking for that golden philosophical nugget. They will NOT remember what you said. But they WILL remember that you listened. That you were there - FULLY PRESENT - and available.
Don't misunderstand me; the Lord often gives us a word to heal, comfort, or soothe the aching, ravaged heart. But when the words aren't there, you still can be.
Has the Lord given you an opportunity to BE PRESENT?
Would love to hear about it.