Standing In The Ruin

Written by on June 6, 2019

In last week’s blog, I talked about being all in. One of the things I talked about was how the hard times in our lives could make us scared to move forward and take risks. It got me thinking about how we handle it when people are in a hard time. When people are going through a rough situation, often I think the church community struggles to know how to deal with it in a natural, supportive way.

Romans 8:28

Romans 8:28 is a fantastic verse. It is incredible to know that God works all things together for good. Unfortunately, Romans 8:28 is a pretty good hindsight kind of verse. People who are standing in the middle of the ruin of their lives don’t want to hear it at that exact moment. We have all been experienced not knowing what to say when we are standing with someone in extreme emotional pain. We feel like we have to say something, so we say, “God has a plan”, or, “God works all things together for good”, or “God’s got this”.

Love Them In Their Pain

I am not saying that those things are wrong, or that they are not heartfelt. Sometimes, I do feel like the wider community is better at sitting in the ruins with someone and just being there in the pain. I sometimes think that within the church, we feel a responsibility to spin the situation in a positive light in the hopes it will somehow make the situation better. The reality is that whatever is going on, their world is ending at that moment. They need to be able to feel that. They need to know that the people around them can see their pain, still love them, and not have to fix it. 

Romans 12:15 says, ‘Celebrate with those who celebrate, and weep with those who grieve’

Put Hands And Feet To The Word Of God

When my marriage ended, I had a newborn baby, a broken heart, no money, and I was grieving what seemed like endless amounts of intangible things. If one more person had told me God had a plan, I actually think I may have lost it completely. The things that actually helped me at that time in my life, that I still remember, were the people who put hands and feet to the word of God. The people who donated furniture to a stranger, supplied meals and randomly invited me over. I still remember those people by name almost 19 Years later.

Be Practical

If you hear that someone is having a difficult time – support them in practical ways. Look out for opportunities to make a meal, look after the kids, clean the house, drive them somewhere the list goes on. I know that there are times that I have been led to buy or provide the strangest things for people. When I have given it to them, it has been perfect for their situation.

Romans 8:28 Is a Hindsight Verse

I think Romans 8:28 is a personal thing. It is part of the healing process, and a verse that as people are walking through their situation and rebuilding their lives, they can look back and see the places where God has worked. In last weeks article All in, I talked about a business that failed. It was a long time before I could look at that and see God working it for good. All I saw was a failure.

Later that year, around five months after the business closed, I had a brain aneurysm. The aneurysm happened eleven weeks before I married my second husband.

Looking back at all of that, I can see that although I didn’t want the shop to close and I was devastated at the time. There would have been no way that my family could have handled my daughter, the business me in hospital. as well as final wedding preparations and my recovery at home.

Love Them As You Find Them

Just be there for people. Be practical, be helpful, and be useful. Don’t tell them it will be okay, even though you know it probably will be. Sit with them in their mess and just be. Sometimes that’s all they need. Sometimes they need to know you love them exactly as you find them. Exactly the way God loves us.

Lorrene McClymont is a photographer and writer living in Adelaide, South Australia. She writes faith based blogs under the Essential Hope banner. All images can be purchased through the Hope Images website

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