There’s no better time than to prove one’s friendship than during the difficult seasons of life. They can be amazing opportunities to allow God to use us, our talents and our time to encourage others. Mots of us are not born ‘carers’. Sin, the virus we are infected as soon as we step into this world, makes us bent towards selfishness and self absorption.
I believe that we are all on a steep learning curve. Advice may help. Books and sermons might equipp us but really there’s no greater teacher than experience itself. During the past few weeks, I have learned new things, in the midst or worry and helplessness. I have gained a fresh personal insight on how difficult it is to care and support those arround us.
God used the readings of the Psalms and he book of Job as a theological manual and almost on a parallel track the difficult season in our family’s life. Here are some of my discoveries. They are not maybe pertinent or helpful to everyone, but maybe you will find them inspiring. These are the lessons God has thought me.
Beware of the two dangers, most commonly affecting us. The first is ignorance. I can just not listen, discern, watch or notice the difficult situations someone might be facing. The opposite danger is just as bad. I can be too intrusive, over involved, and preachy. I am sure I have been guilty of both extremes.
When you don’t now what to say, say just that. Don’t sugar coat the situation with your own over enthusiastic positive spin. While it might be true, it might not also be timely.
When you don’t now what is the best way to support someone, just ask them.
- Ask them whether they want a meal or a lift.
- Ask them whether they want company.
- Ask them if there is anything specific you can pray for them.
- Ask them if their situations has financial implications, and if you can help.
Ring or text for an update. Their mind might be frazzled and confused and your initiative will be an encouragement.
Use a Bible verse discerningly. The Word of God is very powerful but make sure it is God leading you to send them that.
If you’re part of a Church, gather your small group for prayer for them.
The list could go on, and as time goes by I might add things.
What has staggered me is the way God can use even adverse circumstances redemptively (His speciality) to bring encouragement even in the most adverse circumstances.
He longs to do this, and in an unfathomable way, he wants to use means you. It’s all a question of availability more than ability.