A few years ago, I searched for the word “comfort” in a Bible on my computer. In seconds, there were over 60 verses. I printed five pages of encouraging scripture. At a Bible study, each person was given a copy and asked to pick a favorite verse and tell how they received comfort during crisis.
I wanted to be the perfect pastor, the perfect Christian, the perfect husband and father and so on. I was frankly more car salesman than preacher: I could be arrogant, cocky and a little difficult to live with. A pastor was someone on a pedestal, and I intended to be worthy of the highest pedestal of all.
Trinity began her life in a family full of issues and problems, but Trinity had a protector in a loving grandmother who saw what was happening to her and responded. But they were not alone either. Both Trinity and her grandmother were soon surrounded by a loving church and community.
In life we also face job difficulties, family squabbles, financial issues, health concerns and/or emotional trauma. So, you seek out a church for help. Hopefully, you find a loving caring church which gets you to first base. Then the real work begins: teaching, fellowship, sharing & prayer.
Could one or more of these four emails come close to describing your situation? One thing, I’ve learned over the past 30+ years of ministry is that life is full of mistakes, sorrows, difficulties, obstacles and disappointments. The last two years during the pandemic added additional stress, tragedy and chaos.
These past fifteen or sixteen months have been full of stumbles. When you consider how the pandemic has taken the lives of more than 600,000 Americans and impacted the health of millions more. COVID-19 devastated our economy, closed businesses, eliminated thousands of jobs, made it dangerous to simply be out in public, temporarily closed churches, schools, restaurants, movie theaters, sporting events and the list goes on and on…
As a pastor, I see so many examples of miraculous healing, but I also witnessed more situations where a miraculous healing was wished for, prayed for but the answer was not what was hoped for. One example happened many years ago in a small town near Amelia, Virginia.
Years ago, someone sent me several emails, no one ever wants to see. “I know I just sent in a prayer request, but I am scared. I am not afraid to die. I am afraid to live!” She shared a poem illustrating the darkness and emptiness she was feeling while struggling to hear from and understand God:
This story could represent someone in your community, at your workplace, in your neighborhood, within your family. Someone feeling unloved and hopeless enough to seriously contemplate taking his or her own life. What should we do? How can I help? What should you say?