As I shared in my blog, A Tale of Three Fathers, my biological father died from cancer when I was 13 years old. We were surrounded with such love and support from our family, church, and friends. I learned many valuable lessons during that time in my life. I have been thinking about these lessons lately, particularly when it comes to how Jesus calls us to respond to others in crisis.
Six weeks ago something happened in my family that brought unexpected change and with that change came sadness, fear, hurt, loss of innocence and even some anger. And at the same time that unexpected change brought joy, faith, hope, love, life and even laughter! We have been surrounded with such grace from our family, church, and friends, much like when my dad passed away. Kindness has been abundant and often brought me to tears!
I know that God uses every season of life to refine, teach and draw us closer to Him. I have been reminded how important it is to “show up” for one another. I have also been reminded the importance of seeking understanding in all situations, refraining from judgment and holding back on assumptions.
I think when we are met with difficult situations, we look for the right words to say, especially when the situations are a bit messy. A response I remember hearing over and over again after my dad died was, “I know how you feel.” I remember thinking how that was simply impossible. I understand the statement was a kind attempt to sympathize. But often the statement would come before the person even inquired about what those feelings of mine actually might be. Oh Lord let that be a lesson to me!!
Jesus calls us to be present. He calls us to show up, to listen, to ask questions and to always point our family and friends back to truth, hope and love that can only be found in Him. He asks us to step into His dust covered sandals and meet our loved ones in the middle of the road they are walking, without assumption and with complete grace.
Boy, has God given me those kind of people during this season! And it has renewed a fire in me to do more of this kind of “showing up” for others! Yes, the lessons are abundant and I am leaning in and listening.
What season do you find yourself in? If you are in a difficult season, I pray that you find God in it. I pray that you lean in to His teachings. And I pray that He surrounds you with people who are seeking your feelings and thoughts on the matter. And loving you even more for it. Most importantly, I hope you know that nothing happens in our lives that has not been sifted through the sovereign Hands of our Father. And He does know exactly how you feel!
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Colossians 1:17 NIV
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Matthew 9:36 NIV
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
John 15:12 NIV