A Gift of Presence

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The offering of the gift of presence to another so that he or she might have an opportunity to respond with curiosity is the vocation of fearless warriors. People mistake the gentle knocking of relationship for the attack of an enemy rather than the wounds of a friend. To choose to be present for another calls for courage and perseverance because one actually is engaged in the battle for a soul.
~Liam Atchison

The last few eventful days, I have been rediscovering something I thought I knew, but must have forgotten somewhere along the way a little while back.

Tuesday morning began with a minor car accident that left our bodies and car intact--though the car now needs a couple thousand dollars' worth of repairs. After having my car totaled last spring, you would think I would have no qualms about such a thing. "It's just a car, at least we weren't hurt, don't cry over spilt milk" and all that.

A few hours after the accident, however, I quit trying to be strong, and gave in to the questions that were hitting me about God's goodness, His provision, and why should I go on living? This after a wonderful weekend with Pete, and even a delightful morning with him, up until the accident. Why should I trust God and bother trying to live if this bad stuff keeps happening?

Then a friend IM-ed me because she had a sense that she should say hello. Before the conversation was over, she had prayed for me, and I was reminded to thank God in all things. A little while later, another friend emailed me with encouragement, sharing how God helped her answer the lies she was fighting about Him in her heart. Still ticked off at God, I fired back a venting email about my day, which she answered with an e-card and a "worm hug" that let me know she was praying for me and wasn't judging me because I was mad. This was the same friend who I had been able to encourage through email last week when she was struggling with a situation in her own life.

By that time, Pete had received a call from a policeman who thanked him for his honesty in reporting the downed stop sign and opted not to write him up or anything.

The shame for my anger and distrust in God crowded in then, and I sank even lower. I'd let Him down again. Why do I keep doing that? Is all the closeness I feel to God just a fluke?

But people were praying for me. As the day wore on, I found my heart re-opening to God, and by the end of the day, Pete and I were praying with another couple, encouraging one another in the Lord, and sharing about how God was working in our lives.

Yesterday, I received an email from someone who has been encouraged by my writing on my blog, and last night, Pete and I spent time with another couple, just enjoying fellowship (and food and a movie) with people who have the same passion we have for the Lord.

Scripture instructs us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together--a verse that is usually interpreted as a command for attending church every time the doors are open. While I can't say I've ever been convicted of that, the more trouble I get into, the more I have found how desperately I need other believers around me. If one member of the Body is hurting, the rest of the Body is affected.

But you don't realize it so much when you can't be weak. So many times believers attempt to "have it all together" as they "minister" to others, not realizing that it is their very weakness that allows them to be *with* the person to whom they are ministering. How little we know how seeing God's grace in our own weakness may actually be lifting someone else from their shame and guilt! Sometimes, we don't think we're "getting through" to someone, but do we know what God is doing in his heart through our faithfulness to Him in "encouraging one another so much the more as [we] see the day approaching"?

This week, God has reminded me of how desperately we need other believers to be present for us--not just in church on Sundays, but every day of the week, even on an hourly basis. And not just present in body, but present in spirit and soul and heart and reality of "I'm learning to know God too, but I'm not there yet, please walk with me, I need you."

I am newly amazed and grateful that God provides His people in my life to encourage me and remind me of His goodness, even when I am so weak and human that I can't be anything but weak and human.


Post a Comment

Talk to me, if you like.