“We Really Do Need Each Other”
When Jesus ascended into heaven after His resurrection from the dead, He told the disciples, “I must go away so the comforter (helper or advocate in some translations) can come” (John 16:7). This we are told is “for our benefit.” What are the benefits of this comforter, which is better translated the Holy Spirit, which comes to us? It’s the Holy Spirit that convicts us of sin and leads us to Christ. It’s the Holy Spirit that guides our steps and helps in our decision making. There are many more benefits, but let’s consider the benefit of the Holy Spirit giving us comfort. This comfort comes from the presence of God surrounding an individual, but I also believe it is comfort given by God’s people to someone who is hurting or is afraid.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time this week with two separate families that were shocked by the unexpected death of a loved one. It’s hard enough watching an elderly person, knowing in a short time, they are going to pass and when they do, while their death was expected, rarely is anyone actually prepared. So, unexpected deaths are worse. But then, so is the news of a loved one that is diagnosed with a terminal illness, facing a risky surgery, the loss of a job, the breakup of a marriage, the results of a bad choice by a teenage son or daughter. What I’m saying here is, there are people you and I know who are hurting. Many times we don’t know what to say and keep in mind, often it’s best to say nothing … at least for a while. There is such a thing as a “ The ministry of a silent presence.” This means you are standing by the hurting person, but saying nothing. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter and brings comfort, but He often comes in the form of people like you and me.
You may know of someone that’s suffering. Be careful you aren’t a distraction or keeping them from rest, but extend your love and a helping hand anyway possible. Your concern and prayers will be helpful. Maybe you could mow their lawn, clean their house, take them a meal, pick the kids up from school or give gift a gift card for something special. Most people want to do something, but don’t always know what. Ask the Lord to open a door and give you an opportunity to offer encouragement and assistance. It may only be a kind word and prayer. The point is, we do need each other and most people are willing to help if they only knew what to do. This email is going all across the country – so let me say a word to those suffering – there may be a need for you to be alone – for a period of time. A short time! You have people who love you and want to be with you. They want to help, but feel awkward doing so. DON’T SHUT THEM OUT – you need them and they need to serve. Life is hard and at times unbearable. Allowing others to assist you will help the healing process. AND – to those desiring to help – be loving, caring and helpful, but don’t over extend your stay. Paul said, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (I Thessalonians 5:11).
Knowing exactly what to do isn’t always easy – just like sending this email. I’m questioning myself, is it right the thing to do. I pray it is and that it will encourage those hurting as well as those wanting to step up and help someone. Life is hard and difficult, but it’s sure a lot easier doing it with others!!