DayBreaks for 7/07/16 – What Can I Give Them?
Galen is on vacation. From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:
Sometimes pastors find themselves in strange circumstances. Some are just funny – like playing golf and watching how some of the guys you play with struggle to control their language after they make a bad shot. You just know that if the pastor wasn’t there, the struggle wouldn’t probably even be attempted and the language would flow like the water that took away the golf ball! Sometimes the words slip out anyway, and they’ll turn and look at you with a despairing face and say, “I’m sorry, pastor!”
Sometimes, though, the struggle is inside the pastor. Sometimes we find ourselves in the middle of situations where we don’t have a clue what to say (and I know you’re thinking that it would be a miracle for a pastor to NOT have something to say!) Such situations are fairly common, however. What do you say when you are confronted by parents of a young child who is deathly ill, and one bit of bad news after another seems to pile up like the snows on Everest? What are you supposed to say when the dreaded “Why?” question comes up at times like those?
I recently found myself in such a situation, and I was praying inside myself to God. “Lord, what can I say? What do You want me to tell them? What can I do to help them get through this?” As He often does, His Spirit whispered to me, “Just give them Me.” I found myself quickly reverting to my skeptical, faithless self and I replied to Him, “But God, that’s not enough. They need more.” And again, ever so lovingly, the Spirit sighed, “If you give them Me and that’s not enough, nothing will ever be enough.”
I immediately realized my sin in thinking God was not enough. Of course He’s enough. When pastors and others find themselves in such situations, we must NOT try to give them answers to the “Why?” questions because we simply don’t have answers. And to share Romans 8:28 (“all things work together for good…”) is like a cold slap in the face when a child lies in critical care. That’s not an answer, either. Not at times like that. Only God knows the answer, and that’s part of the reason that we must give them Him and nothing else. Encourage them to talk to Him, to rant at Him, to shake their fist in His face, to beg and plead and argue.
But is this biblical? I think it most certainly is. We don’t know the answers to why. Job’s friends tried to supply the answers to “Why” for Job, and at the end of the long discussions, God says that his friends were ignorant and didn’t have a clue what they were talking about, that they’d spoken foolishly. May God spare me from being that kind of friend, or having that kind of friends. Let me have friends in times of need who just give me God.
PRAYER: There is so much in this world that we don’t understand, Lord, and which puzzles and perplexes us in the deepest levels of our souls. Help us to realize the limitations of our wisdom and thinking, and not try to answer for You the questions that only You know the answers to. Help us to be true friends who will share Jesus with all our acquaintances as the only answer to the world’s questions. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.