“Sometimes we have to experience misunderstanding from unsympathetic friends in order to learn how to minister to others.” These were part of Warren Wiersbe’s commentary on Job 16:4, that resonated in my heart.
Seated by the fireplace reading, grounded again for the third Sunday in a row due to COVID, I found myself replacing the words “unsympathetic friends” with “COVID.”
“Sometimes we have to experience COVID in order to learn how to minister to others.”
How blessed I have been to be healthy for over two years with no colds and only my typical back issues. I’ve been hiking, running, navigating ministry through the pandemic, on and on and on! Then . . . everything changed in one day. Symptoms which led to a positive test, feeling miserable, infusion, recuperation.
What did I need to learn again? I needed a fresh reminder of what it looks like to be a minister of mercy/compassion just like Jesus as demonstrated in the parable of the Good Samaritan. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ (Luke 10:34-35).
What does that look like? Well, here are some thoughts, in random order, that I jotted in my journal to remind me in the days to come.
- Life changes so quickly . . . live in the moment. That may be all that’s left here. (James 4:14-15).
- If the Lord nudges you to minister to someone, go. (Luke 10:34)
- There are times when you are feeling so bad you do not have the energy to pray beyond, “Lord, help me!” If you are strong physically and spiritually, be sure to pray for those who are weak and weary. They need your intercession (James 5:16). Perhaps, call them . . . not to chit-chat but to simply say, “I want to pray with you, and then I’ll end the call.”
- Ask the Lord to give you wisdom as to something beyond “If you need anything, call me!” 99% won’t call (I’m usually one of those); don’t want to be a bother or an inconvenience. Here are a few acts of service that I was blessed to receive recently: 1) Bring a meal. 2) Send a text saying, “I’m out at the store. What can I bring you?” or “I’m at Dunkin. Want a donut and coffee?” 3) Do some project around the yard or house. It was a refreshment to hear the lawn mower crank up in the front yard. 4) Drop by with some cookies/snacks or leave something in the mailbox or on the front porch.
- Having said that, accept other’s offers to minister to you. The other night a meal was brought to our front door. Before departing, the gentleman said, “It sure feels good to be on this side of the door” (the giving side).
- Send a text every other day or so. Sometimes the one who is suffering may not have the strength to read it and respond, but don’t be afraid to reach out, either. Perhaps a card of encouragement in the mail.
- Store up the Word of God in your mind for times like these, when you’re too sick to read or listen to anything.
- Consider the caregiver. He/she has picked up the ball for two people all the while serving the ill. They need encouragement and help, too.
How blessed to have a wonderful wife, our dear immediate family and loved ones, close friends, and our precious church family!! Most of all, oh, the goodness of God in the midst of stuff like COVID!
Yes, “sometimes we have to experience “COVID” in order to learn how to minister to others.” Thank You, Lord, for being patient with me and teaching me again to be moved with compassion.