Sharing with people in distress
Hanani, one of my brothers, came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had returned there from captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem.
They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who survived the exile and have returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.” (Neh 1:2)
Sharing with people in distress In God’s economy one plus one so often make more than two. When Nehemiah met with his brother, newly arrived from Jerusalem, he soon found out how bad things were back in the Promised Land: a discovery that would lead first to prayer and then to intense and anointed action.
I would like to consider how Nehemiah handled this ‘bad’ news as a model for ourselves. One of the things that distinguishes friends from mere acquaintances is how they react when things are tough and the news is not good. Fair weather friends are quick to be around us when things are going well because it gives them a buzz – but when we are going through the mill they tend to be conspicuous by their absence.
What most people who are hurting value above all else is our presence and our prayers. Blessed are the burden bearers who care enough to share with people during their times of distress. It is so important not to let our fear of having nothing useful to contribute, or of putting our foot in it, hold us back from reaching out!
As we all know, there are no magic solutions when grief and loss come our way – especially if it comes as the result of something entirely unexpected – but there are patterns and pointers that it helps to understand. We addressed a few of these issues in church recently with a view to helping both those who are going through the mill themselves, and those who are standing alongside those who are.
This applies, of course, to any kind of loss, rather than just to literal bereavement. It is so important to ‘process’ seemingly lesser losses that could easily pass under the radar and not get attended to.
I addressed a few of these in church recently with a view to helping those who are going through the mill themselves, as well as and those who are standing alongside them.
The talk struck chords for many; We hope it may for you too. In case this sounds like a rather daunting theme, we have made it infinitely more attractive by adding some of the music we recorded in our get together at Regents Bible College earlier this year, including amongst the music pieces Torelli, Handel and the beautiful Coventry Carol. AnthonyThompson was the trumpeter. To avoid overload we are dividing the talk into short sections. Here’s the first part . . .
Robert & Rosalind