Henri Nouwen writes, “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
Could it be possible that if we give up trying to rationalize “Everything happens for a reason” and quit trying to attribute everything to a “God reason,” we might be able to reside in peace?
When others are facing tragedies . . .
A diagnosis of a tragic illness
A failed relationship or marriage
A loved one battling an addiction
Someone battling mental illness
Statements like, “Everything happens for a reason” ring hollow.
In that moment they want to KNOW that reason!
They want to have something to hold on to because tangible things – whether it is a “thing” or a thought – bring solace and comfort.
What if instead of offering that sentence we offer ourselves?
What if we accept that we don’t have answers . . . and steer away from saying things like, “It is all part of God’s plan” or “It’s the will of God” or “Everything Happens for a Reason”?
What if we provide a ministry of presence, with no absolute answers but instead times of grace and love?
How might that cause that person to find peace?
Jesus taught us that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for his/her friends, and he called his disciples – friends.
What if we, as friends of one another, lay down our lives by sacrificing time and energy to simply have a ministry of presence when someone is dealing with heartache and grief? Rather than explaining it away and having a “quick fix” – what if we try to BE THERE for them through the pain?
John 15:15-17New International Version (NIV)
15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.