"For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations." (Psalm 100:5)
I cannot get over the amount of pain the people around us endure daily. There are people in hospitals and Alzheimer's Units to visit, those in mental health units at area hospitals, or shut-ins who feel desperate in their loneliness. Most recently, I have tried to be there for a good friend who is struggling as he walks through divorce. The anguish, aloneness, and betrayal are nearly overwhelming. Empathy for him makes my heart cry out.
Amidst the hardships one can find around every corner, I read Psalm 100. Rather than scoff at the celebratory praise the psalmist has for God while the world hurts, we people of faith need to ask, "How can I bring God's praise to our pain-filled surroundings?”
First, be God's "steadfast love" for the suffering person in your midst. Offer a "ministry of presence" by simply being with someone you care about. For my suffering friend, I do not have all the answers. Actually, when I have tried to give advice, it often hasn't worked out. I remain a comfort to him, not by giving good advice, but simply by not being scared away, but by caring and trying to keep some normalcy in his life.
Second, we both have brought God's "faithfulness" to the center of his life, amidst this crisis. Today, I helped pick out a new Bible for him, and then we went to lunch. We continue to get together weekly. Over lunch we talk about how God is working in the midst of this crisis in his life. Sometimes, all he can say is that God gave him the strength to get out of bed. Other times it is more hopeful. Over time, my friend will realize that God has been at work the entire time, healing and restoring his heart and soul.
As you bring your day before the Lord today, determine your own life situation. What brings you love, faithfulness, and joy? If you can provide answers, you are strong enough to be a spiritual presence for someone else. Who is the person God is guiding you toward? Risk time and discomfort to be God's "steadfast love" for that other person. If you are the one overwhelmed with suffering, pray for God to guide you to a person who can give you the "ministry of presence." God loves you and desires to bring you steadfast love, faithfulness, and joy. God bless you amidst your struggle, or as you faithfully struggle along with another.