Sometimes it’s just showing up that counts

More than a decade ago, my Mom, in the final months of her life, came to live in our home. It was bittersweet season, a time when she became dependent and I learned much about loving her. She would frequently call me in the middle of night, feeling anxious in the darkness of morning’s small hours.  Going to her bedside, I would hear say, “Don’t leave me.”   I pulled up a chair and sat there with her, holding her hand.  No words were necessary. Often she fell asleep in a matter of minutes, comforted by my presence.  

In my pastoral ministry I have been called to all kinds of situations, pending death, hospital emergency rooms, funerals.  I learned that in those moments it was ‘being there’ that meant more than words.  There will be a time to talk, to share a word of Scripture, but in the crisis often it is just showing up that counts.  The unspoken message is “I will steady you; you’re not alone.” 

There is a time for counsel, comforting words, or prayer but wisdom teaches us to be show our love and care not just to profess it.

In the Old Testament we find the story of Job.  He was suffering awful, almost incomprehensible loss.  His children died. His wealth evaporated. His health failed. As he sat in the ashes, with a broken heart and aching body his friends came to be with him. We read that “When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.” (Job 2:12-13, NIV)  They got it right, at first! 

Then, they felt the need to try to explain, to rationalize, to make the tragedy make sense.  Their overflow of words offended God and Job for they blamed Job for his plight, saying that surely he must have brought it on himself, and they declared with certainty that they knew God was punishing him.  As we know from the whole story, Job was a model righteous man whose suffering had nothing to do with sin or failure. God was accomplishing His own purposes through Job which were unseen by the man’s friends.

In this thing called ‘life,’ let’s not fall into the trap of trying to explain it all, too soon or with too little information. There is a time to ‘speak the truth in love’ to one another. There is a time to correct and instruct. But, love comes first and that love is shown best when we ‘show up’ with care and compassion; offering to listen without judgment, sharing a meal, serving another in some way that says “you matter.”

This way of life is modeled for us by God Himself, in the 3rd Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised that upon His return to the Father’s glory, He would send another, the “Counselor. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” (John 14:16-19, NIV)  

In the first language of the Bible, the word we read as ‘Counselor’ is the Greek word, “Paraclete.”  That word describes someone who comes to stand with us, an advocate, closer than a friend.  That is Who God, the Holy Spirit, is for us, the very Presence of God with us and in us, all the time.

Are you feeling anxious or alone?
Has life become overwhelming, problems multiplying, answers few?
Is the world in which you live chaotic?

I pray you have friends in the family of God who stand with you, showing up for you. And, by faith, remember God is here, “an ever-present help in trouble.”  (Psalm 46.1)

The word from the Word is a faith-builder. Live the promise and be that person who shows up for others, too.
The Psalmist exults: “Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.”
(Psalm 139:7-10, NIV) Amen!

(Video of this blog at this link)


10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
O my soul!
Worship His holy name!
Sing like never before
O my soul.
I’ll worship Your holy name.

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning.
It’s time to sing Your song again!
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me,
Let me be singing when the evening comes.

You’re rich in love and You’re slow to anger.
Your name is great and Your heart is kind.
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing,
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul!
Worship His holy name!
Sing like never before
O my soul.
I’ll worship Your holy name.

And on that day when my strength is failing,
The end draws near and my time has come.
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending,
Ten thousand years and then forevermore.

Worship Your holy name Worship Your holy name

Jonas Myrin | Matt Redman © 2011 Said And Done Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) SHOUT! Music Publishing (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) CCLI License # 810055

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