The call came, “We have a problem and I could use some input.”
It isn’t unusual for me to get a call to walk alongside those who are struggling. I like it, volunteer for it, and feel privileged when I can serve in this way. At times it is a church leader, sometimes a family, other times someone who knows someone I’ve spoken with before. Lately, I’ve been speaking with the children of parents who spoke with me when they were small children.
I spoke with a church leader who was ministering to a family in crisis. Their preteen child had accidently been killed in a household accident. The unexpected nature of the event was devastating, the family, church and community were all reeling in grief.
“I don’t want to say the wrong thing. I’m at a loss to know what to say at all.” I certainly understand. We would like our words to “fix things” but some things are “unfixable” short of the new heaven and new earth.
“What can we, as a church, do?” I suggested being there to listen, to pray, to hug, and to cry. Some might be better suited to cut the grass, wash the cars, or shine shoes. A covered dish, someone to label food, record the ones who stop by, and to answer the phone.
Often in this life, we cannot “unring the bell”, it can’t be as though it never happened. The story of Scripture is what happens on the other side of crisis. Jesus stopped a funeral procession and returned the dead son to a grieving widow. He, with the power of his presence, healed a woman who had been bleeding for years while doctors were unable to help.
For us, not having the power to reset the story, we simply try to be present in the crisis. We come alongside those who feel the ravages of physical pains and heartbreaking loss. We can’t remove the event, but we can be willing to care.
When people had struggles, hearing Jesus was coming brought hope. We want to be him.