The ministry of presence.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. (NIV)
There are so many times in life when we are helpless. The Bible says God will never give us more than we can handle, but we often miss the next part. He will not give us more than we can handle without also giving us an escape. Very clearly then, the Lord often gives us more than we can handle on our own without some help. He may allow us to move through a door that wasn’t there previously. He might give us a friend to help us. Our church may be the body that lifts our burdens. He allows us to experience more than we can handle for this very reason. Ultimately, we need one another, and we need Him and these moments force us out of ourselves into the body of Christ and into communion with the Spirit.
Because of this, the ministry of presence is powerful beyond words. In moments when nothing can be done to change or fix or alleviate the pressure, stress, or pain, it is the simple knowledge that we are not going through it alone.
To endure these most difficult times on our own will propel us toward ungodly methods of coping. God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” A person trying to deal with the deep valleys of life without the help of God and His body will turn inward becoming selfish. Selfishness is the opposite of love separating us not only from the presence of God but from the wisdom of God as well. The result could be traumatic.
As ambassadors of Christ, we are called to align our hearts with others in the ministry of presence. Just being there for someone with hearts connected can be the difference between a person surviving and overcoming or turning into themselves.
Inwardness moves to narcissism in a rush. Narcissism creates offense, hatred, and possibly violence. The ministry of presence is the weapon against this spirit. We don’t always need to know what to do or to say. We can’t get bogged down in trying to fix the moment. Moments too difficult for words and too deep for soothing, the best thing we can do is be there for people. Not just physically, but spiritually. We place ourselves as much as we can in their position to discover what they might feel and we align our hearts with them. We mourn with those who mourn.
Prayer: Lord, help me not to get anxious trying to figure out what to do when people just need me to be there in the ministry of presence. Amen.