3.27.2018

The Ministry of PRESENCE is a beautiful thing!

The philosophy behind the "ministry of presence" is something I continually praise God for when I am called upon to minister to the brokenhearted. Every time I sit across from a brother or sister suffering in sorrow, the more I understand a very simple yet fundamental truth: I have very little to offer - except myself.
I cannot change the past. I cannot solve every problem. I cannot make promises. I cannot predict when their pain will cease. But - there is something I can do. I can be PRESENT, so they do not have to be alone.

Holding a hand, weeping with the one who weeps, praying, listening, offering a hug, or just sitting together in silence can be incredibly encouraging - and effective.
And often, that is all they want. They know we cannot make everything better, change anything, or make the pain go away. They want to know they are not alone. That someone hears them. And loves them. As they are. In that moment.

Believing someone loves us and hurts for us because they love us, 
far exceeds their ability to understand the details of our pain.

It is impossible to know, comprehend, and identify with every personal trial of those we love unless we have walked through that same darkness. And even if we have, the details and responses look different for each person. What soothes and comforts one sister can be offensive to another. Only the Lord knows what each broken heart needs, so we must bathe ourselves in prayer before looking into the eyes of the sufferer so we can speak the words the Father gives us, at just the right time.

We do not need to understand everything.
We do not need to know what to say.
We do not need to be comfortable, for it is not about us.
We just need to be THERE.
And let the Lord sort out the details.

It took me a long time to learn this. Too long.
I always thought I needed to have the perfect words, the perfect Bible verse to quote, brilliant spiritual thoughts, and all the answers in order to be an effective friend in time of need.
But now I know ...
if I say nothing
do nothing
solve nothing ...
my presence is enough.
Not because I have anything to offer, but because my God has EVERYthing to offer.

When a brother or sister is grieving and in the depths of despair, the pit is cold, dark, lonely and deep.
They need someone to shine LIGHT into the darkness.
Jesus is the light of the world!
He lives in us.
When we climb into the pit of suffering to comfort a brother or sister, we shine God's light into the darkness, and HOPE is born.

On our own, we cannot bring healing and joy to the broken heart of another.
But we can take her to the feet of the One who created her, died for her, and loves her.
And then, sit back and watch Him take those broken pieces, and make her whole once again.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope; Psalm 130:5

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