Most of us have seen friends or loved ones encounter times of grief, sickness, or difficulty. We want to respond with love, compassion, and assistance, but we often feel overwhelmed. We want to help, but we aren’t sure what we can do to be truly helpful. We want to say something encouraging, but we really aren’t sure what to say.
Recognizing that many of us struggle with feelings of self-doubt in such situations, I will be teaching a 3-week series entitled, Listening for the Soul: Christian Caregiving. The series will begin during Prayer Meeting on Wednesday, May 6 and will continue May 13 and 20. In the first session, I will focus on how we respond to someone when the bad news is fresh. This session will include thoughts about what we can do as well as things we ought never to say to someone facing a crisis. In the second and third sessions, we will discuss how we as God’s people can encourage and facilitate more in-depth conversations with people about where God is at work in their lives and how we can help people address the real questions and struggles of daily life. The latter two weeks grow out of a growing conviction that too often we in the church maintain relationships that remain superficial and don’t allow us sufficient room to be honest about our struggles or to talk authentically about our faith, our doubts, and our awareness of God’s presence. It is my hope and prayer that together we will discover ways we can offer Christian care and friendship that will connect us more deeply with each other and those around us.
On a different topic, I have been heart-broken by the news reports I have seen from Nepal as well as from Baltimore this week. At this point, we can and should be joining other believers in prayer for these situations and for God’s grace-filled work in these and many other places. In addition, there are already many options to support disaster relief efforts in Nepal. If you would like to make a donation through the church to help with disaster relief and rebuilding in Nepal, you may do so by marking your check and envelope for Nepal Relief. We will pass these donations along to World Vision which is already on the ground in Nepal. In their initial phase, their efforts are targeting 100,000 people in the worst affected areas of Nepal. You may read more about what World Vision is doing on their website . If you would like more information on some of the other groups providing relief and assistance in Nepal, please feel free to contact me, and I will help point you to other disaster relief groups you might choose to support. Above all, let us pray for God’s pres-ence and love to be visible and life-changing in the midst of these crises.