Perhaps I should clarify that title and say, ‘What this Christian would like to hear….’ rather than speaking for all Christians. Okay, now that that’s clear, on to finally getting a blog written.
Following my long hiatus from blogging due to my husband’s cervical surgery, I’ve had many things on my mind on what I would blog about once I found some time. Believe me, this was not exactly what I had in mind but too many things have happened today that lead me to believe it’s the right time. Once again, I find myself in a position of my faith being tested, or strengthened, whichever way you want to look at it. While I am used to having abnormal medical reports due to the Lupus, one never quite gets used to a phone call … at home … during dinner … from the family doctor … on the same day as one has just had a test done. “Rose. The test was abnormal and you’ll need some follow-up testing done.” In this case, it was my yearly mammogram.
Now let me just say that I’m not blogging about my test or abnormal results or anything like that. It’s what comes after all of that, that I’d like to write about. It’s the ‘what people say when you do tell them’ that I want to write about. Believe me, I think I could probably write a book about all the different things people say or ways they handle you revealing unwelcome news, such as abnormal test results, but that’s for another time. Rather than concentrate on all the awful things that I, and so many others hear, I’d like to mention some things that I find great comfort in hearing.
A perfect example occurred today. A lady friend from my church called. I barely know this woman but we had some things to discuss regarding a mutual project for the church. Because I don’t really know her that well, when she called and started the conversation with the customary, “How are you?” I commented with, “Hanging in there.” as cheerfully as I could muster up. She is a sensitive sister in the Lord because she immediately sensed something behind my jovial answer and inquired further, “I guess ‘hanging in there’ is okay but are you really okay?” I was then free to reveal to her that, “No, I’m really not all that okay.” BAM! Suggestion number one−if someone answers your inquiry and you sense something is amiss. Ask!
Another answer that gives me great comfort comes from another sister in the Lord. This woman never misses the opportunity to communicate to me her well wishes by an outright prayer! It doesn’t matter if it’s via phone, email, Facebook, Twitter … she will drop whatever she’s doing and pray for me. BAM! Suggestion number two−literally pray for someone when asked to be remembered in prayer. Now, not everyone is as comfortable as she when it comes to praying out loud, but I urge you to really and truly go before God in intercession for that person, even privately, and tell them that’s exactly what you’ll do.
There’s a brother in the Lord that I can honestly say I have never met. We converse only by email as he is part of an organization that supports missions, one to which my husband and I are fond of. I can mention to him about something such as abnormal results or impending surgery and he will reassure me that I or my husband will be remembered there in prayer. And I wholeheartedly believe him when he says it. BAM! Suggestion number three−there’s always a prayer chain nearby! If you belong to a church or religious organization, chances are they have a prayer chain. I can’t tell you how comforting it is to hear someone say that they will put you on their prayer chain.
It’s not just by word of mouth that one finds comfort. The power of the pen is mighty indeed. BAM! Suggestion number four−send a card, even if it’s an e-card or handmade card, just to let someone who’s dealing with something difficult know that you’re thinking about them. Great comfort is found in the card that comes in the mail, or the inbox, from someone you either don’t know, or barely know, offering kind words of comfort, wisdom and prayer.
I think that’s enough BAMS to think about for now. You probably have many of your own that bring you consolation. I can conclude with this. Practice and do! Whether it’s practicing kind words of comfort, memorization of scriptures that console, or learning how to react when bad news comes someone’s way, you get one chance to hurt or help. The old adage is true, ‘When all else fails, say nothing!’ But, if compassion stirs your heart, acknowledge someone’s difficult time in a way that could very well bring them a bit of respite from battling it alone. Matthew 18:20 is just one of many scriptures that assures us of His presence, but the remarkable thing about this passage is that it’s not about one standing alone. I believe that nothing can bring a fellow brother or sister in the Lord more comfort than knowing that they do not need to go through it alone. Let us keep advancing in our efforts to be Christ-like. There is no one else to emulate when it comes to encouragement. Is there?