A friend whose blog I read regularly wrote recently about being prepared. I left a comment, since it touched me, but realized that I responded in Michigan metaphors – “help a neighbor unbury their van” ; “shovel someone’s steps”, even though she’s in Florida. Ah well – we talk about what we know, right? 😀
As she does so well, she also turned things to the spiritual, and it reminded me of something I had experienced. So, here’s another entry for The Stones…
Be prepared to help a friend, a neighbor, even a complete stranger to see God in the midst of grief and pain. And, when the deep waters come your way, be prepared to accept that help when you can’t do it for yourself.
When I went through the layoff, I couldn’t hear God’s voice. I couldn’t worship. My heart was like lead within me. (Read some of the Psalms where David expresses his deep grief and desolation, and you’ll get the idea) The last thing in the world I wanted to do was to go to church on Sunday and worship, much less help lead worship by playing in our band. The light had gone out of my eyes, the warmth from my heart, and my spirit was dead within me.
But my wife wouldn’t let me just lie there. She heard God’s voice FOR me. She began to speak truth over me. Even when I was sick of hearing it, she continued to remind me of who I am in Christ, of God’s love, of His purpose and plan, of the gifts He has given me, and that He never stopped caring for me. My brothers and sisters at church never stopped loving me, checking on me, sending emails and cards reminding me of their love, and showing me God’s love through their own. They continued to speak truth over me, without even knowing they were doing it. They just responded to my deep grief and sorrow by coming alongside. No big deal. No quoting Romans 8:28. Living what St. Francis was referring to: “At all times, preach the Gospel. And, when necessary, use words.”
Did I immediately become all shiny and new? Did joy suddenly break forth and turn my head around? No. It was a long, LONG process, more than a year of their love and patience, bearing up their wounded brother. Worshiping for me when I couldn’t worship. Reminding me of God’s truth without saying a word.
Not once did anyone, including Vicki, say something like, “Alright! Snap out of it! Get yourself together! Grow up and take it like a man!” No one told me to sit out of the worship team on Sundays since my heart was like a rock. They just continued to love me, speak truth to me and let me heal. They allowed me (and silently encouraged me) to continue to play at church, knowing that the mechanics of playing would keep me there, until my heart could join my hands and head in the act of worship. No strategy meetings. No discussion. No intervention. 😀 Just brothers and sisters coming alongside a wounded friend.
Is the process done now? Am I all better? No. 😀 But I’m getting there. I can hear His voice again. I can speak His truth again. Worship is taking longer, but I’m getting there.
Be prepared. Not with a strategy. Not with programs and plans. But with love. Don’t think about it. Don’t try to figure it out. Just come alongside a wounded friend and be there. Speak truth, don’t quote it. Give love, not advice. Worship God for those who can’t. Hear His voice, for those who can’t. Don’t smack them down with a word of knowledge – lift them up with the Voice of Truth. Believe God’s promises for those who can’t believe themselves. Bear up the wounded brothers and sisters, and bring them to the Master. And when necessary, use words. 😀