It was Friday night. I was wrapping up my last class of the day, anxious to do something fun with my evening. That’s when I got a call from our local police dispatcher.
“Pastor, there’s been a death, and the wife of the deceased is not in her right mind. She’s asking for the Baptist pastor. How soon can you be there?”
Well, so much for Friday night!
My wife was able to find a last minute babysitter, and as we walked up the steps to the house the sound of wailing could be heard from outside. No one answered the door, so we let ourselves in.
“Who are you?” One relative asked.
“I’m Pastor John,” I explained. “The police said you asked for me.”
The man simply nodded, stunned.
We stepped into the living room, where the weight of grief was heavy and tangible. Everything in me wanted to do something – to help in some way. But I followed the lead of my wife, who has two counseling degrees. To my surprise, she sat on the couch and just sat there.
It was hard for me to sit still, but no one seemed to mind that two complete strangers were sitting on their couch. Instead, they seemed oddly comforted. Eventually they asked me to pray with them, and we left them alone. I walked away feeling that I had failed utterly, but just yesterday a member of our congregation announced that the wife of the deceased was so touched by our visit that she plans to start coming to church!
This helped me to understand the power that lies in simply being there with someone. Sometimes there are no words to say, but sitting with someone makes a world of difference.
And God offers this valuable gift to us every single day. Every one of our prayers is answered immediately – with His majestic presence. Sometimes He needs us to wait for the answer to our prayers, but He sits beside us while we wait.
Truly He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5)… what an incredible gift! And yet we whine because we don’t get the exact results we asked for.
I learned a great deal from sitting on that stranger’s couch. I learned that God answers every prayer by being there for us…
…and that’s enough.