I am working on an unfinished thought this week. I may not have any answers for you and I may not even be able to bring any resolution to the idea I present, but I want to be obedient to what is on my heart and share it with you anyway. I went to a Pastoral Care class on Saturday with some other folks and got reminded and encouraged. I was reminded of many things I already knew but had forgotten. I was encouraged by the people and the Spirit that was present. I was also reminded and encouraged by the fact that God cures people, not me.
If you are one of those soft hearted people like me then you tend to find yourself helping or wanting to help. Sometimes you get to be a lot of help and other times you just help in little ways but you still get to help. Sometimes your help is motivated out of a deep concern for another person or situation and sometimes God convicts and encourages you to help a person or situation that you might normally ignore. Sometimes you even help because it makes you feel better about yourself. Please note, I don’t think that last way is the best way to go about it because you will eventually tire out and crash because you will never be able to do enough good things to feel good enough. Nevertheless, you were helpful.
Sometimes we try to help and we get discouraged because the situation is too large and too complicated and too dismal. These are the situations that will take weeks and months and possibly years for things to get “better.” When you are faced with a health, financial, relationship or career crisis, there simply aren’t any easy answers and one time fixes. In those cases it can be overwhelming as we are reminded of the fragility of life and the sheer complexity that can be present in this world. This is a perfect time to remember that God cures. Governments, churches, counselors, money, people…you name it…they can all be helpful but none of them can cure. Only God can cure. Don’t place your faith and hope on any of those things as your primary resource for getting help or helping others. You can be an instrument or an obstacle for other people. If you really want to help someone, point them to something, or should I say someone who can truly cure.
If you want to be a good friend and a good caregiver to others, then here is my advice to you:
- Pray that God would use you as an instrument and that you wouldn’t become an obstacle
- Be there
- Listen without judging
- Avoid offering solutions
- Respect their privacy
- Trust God to act