This week my heart has been heavy for a friend. Her plate is full and she just got served another big helping of life that has the ability to overwhelm. Again. While I don’t feel that I know her that well yet, what I have seen in her quiet demeanor is a river that runs deep, a strength that endures, and a life lived in the business of giving. We had but a moment together before an event when she relayed the latest information to me and I felt that old, familiar helplessness rising as I watched her fight the tears that welled up in her eyes. I recognized the resistance to the unwelcomed flood that threatened to pour forth, a resistance to yield for fear that the waters would rise and overtake her, drowning her in the unspoken sorrow that claimed her heart that day.
She covets the thoughts and prayers of her friends and family and I assured her immediately that I would be praying and standing with her in faith for the help and hope and healing that is needed. And I have. I am sure that she is confident that I will not forget to pray or speak life over her situation. I have no actual hand in the solution, no concrete way to step in and save the day, yet I have not been able to shake the feeling that I need to do more.
God has worked in my life an openness to others and a comfort with sharing my experiences, but I am still at heart a private and more reserved person when it comes to my own needs. I see this same characteristic in my friend. I approach with caution not because I don’t want to help, but because I do not want to press too far or offend in any way. So as I asked God what more could I do, He answered in His wonderful simplicity:
“You can cook. You can clean. You can drive. You can listen. You can help.”
I couldn’t wait to see her this morning just to say “Let me help.” To tell her that I can cook, clean, drive, and listen. It’s not like I didn’t know I can do these things, but His prompting was to stop waiting for her to ask! To probe for a little more information about the things that lie ahead and to purposefully plan to do things she would never ask me to do. We so often reserve these acts of service for the moms who’ve come home with a newborn or the family that mourns a lost one. So many people we know have so many problems that we can find ourselves paralyzed into inactivity, relying on our promises of faithful prayers to be enough. And sometimes they are. But I strongly suspect that more often our faith should have some actual muscle behind it and our prayers should be more shown than heard, because true faith produces good works (James 2).
On the other hand, in our desire to live our faith and be strong Christians we many times find ourselves unable to ask for help. My friend needs rest. She would never ask and I’m no Martha Stewart, but I can cook a meal. It won’t give her days of rest but maybe for that evening she can just sit for a while. I can drive and run errands and maybe for an hour or two she doesn’t have to think about what needs to be done in her ordinary life. I can listen and let her cry without any expectations or condemnation but simply because sometimes we just need to have a good, long cry. I am not the answer to the problem, but I can help.
Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the Law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16
So this week and the next week and the next week and for however long she needs, I will help. And as I stand in faith and pray for those I know who are in need, I think I’ll head to the kitchen a little more often and cook someone a meal.
“When faith and prayer are not enough” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com