You are the hand of God to touch hurting people. You’re His voice to whisper compassion to them.
I used to be a bit of a kamikaze about some things. Funerals for instance. I didn’t like them and I used to proclaim, “When I die just put me in a box and bury me. I’ll be with the Lord so it doesn’t matter.”
I didn’t want anyone viewing me in my casket and saying, “Doesn’t he look natural?” If you look natural when you’re dead, you must have been pretty bad off when you were alive.
Funerals are heavy emotional experiences and I didn’t see any need of putting my family through that.
Fortunately for the funeral business I’ve changed my mind. I finally realized that funerals are not for the dead. They’re for the living. And even though I don’t always feel comfortable with the powerful demonstrations of emotion that often accompanies these times, at least now I think I know why we do it.
I was in Luxembourg when my Granddad Deloney died many years ago and I wasn’t able to attend the funeral. It seemed so strange to visit Mamaw when we got home and Granddad wasn’t there. Funerals are the way the living have to make the psychological break with those who’ve passed on. It’s a celebration of the deceased person’s life but also a visual way of realizing that things have changed and we have to adjust.
It’s not easy, but it’s necessary. Friends gather around the family and help them through this tough time. I think I felt that more when my father died than at any other funeral that I had attended.
A Surplus of Prayer
And I felt friends’ lifting us last week when my wife went through heart surgery. In our family Phyllis is the sensitive one who sends cards and calls. I’m kind of the stoic, “Pull-up-your-socks-and-get-on-with-it” one. But, I was profoundly touched by the visits, the calls, the text messages, the emails, Facebook messages, and the cards which came from our kids, friends, churches who love us, Coffee Stains readers, dogs, cats… uh wait. No, dogs and cats. I got a little carried away.
I joked with Phyllis afterwards that we’ve had so many prayers we’ve probably got a large stock left over. Maybe we can save these and tap into them when we want them in the future.
As I advance in life, I’m learning that we need each other. If the kamikaze David of 23 thought he could make it on his own, the mellow David of 63 realizes more and more, what a blessing God gave us when He created relationships with family and friends. So often they express God’s heart to us. When we hurt, it’s often by their hands and voice that God touches us.
God put us in this together. If you don’t need anyone, someone else needs you. Even your hurt can be used to heal someone else. You may think it’s just a card, just a line of encouragement, just a call, just a visit, but it’s really something powerful.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4)
Be sensitive to those around you. God will use you to lift them up because He loves them and that’s the way He has chosen to work.
Have a Think—
To go a day without praising the LORD is unthinkable. To not have a reason to praise the LORD, I would have to have my eyes blinded, my ears deafened, my tongue removed, my memory cleared, and my breathing stilled. May I consider any day incomplete until I have given you praise. Leon Hiebert
My daughter Christi wrote on Facebook: “Thank the Lord for children who make me smile: (Her) Jesse (5 yrs old) enters and declares “MOOOOOOOOOM, I have some things to say…. um one: I’m sick…. I think I might throw up….. ANNNNND I’m hyper…… AND I want some money.”