A Time to Speak and A Time to Weep

Many  of us in Spiritual Leadership positions can often feel uncomfortable in situations where we don’t have the answers. After all, aren't we the experts and hold all the answers to "Why"? We’ve been to seminary and therefore we are pretty much expected to elegantly speak  to even the most difficult questions.

But some of the situations we face don’t have answers. When someone comes to us in a state of emotional turmoil and asks why their loved one suddenly died, or why their spouse left their marriage, or simply why life is so hard - we often feel compelled to give them substantive answers. Our wisdom and our knowledge have become our “go to” skills. But intrinsically we know that’s not going to work in these situations so we feel lost and inadequate. I encourage you to look at how Jesus handled a similar situation. 

When Mary's brother died she was devastated. Jesus showed up four days late and she thought and all was lost.

When Mary finally saw Jesus she fell at his feet and said, ‘Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died’
— John 11:32 NIV


Jesus didn't go through an explanation as to why he was intentionally late. He didn’t even explain that he was intending to raise Lazarus from the dead. No, the Scripture gives us a simple statement of how he handled this crisis.

Jesus wept
— John 11:35 NIV

And so there are times in our lives when the best we can do is, “weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn”. As it turns out (as it always does) this empathic response is actually the healthiest and most helpful thing we can do. The empathic connection we make with those who are suffering is more important than the words we speak. There will be a time for communicating beautiful truths but during these times of intense suffering the mind is physiologically unable to process such information. So we need to be with them in their suffering. This can be very uncomfortable for some of us cerebral types. Think of it as the gift of your presence. Isn’t that what we all really want when we are hurting - someone to be present, to care and to be with us? 

If you are the one hurting, as we all do on this earthly journey, my prayer is that you have someone who can give you the gift of their presence.  I pray that you receive the comfort we as brothers and sisters in Christ can offer one another.

I welcome your comments, your thoughts and your suggestions. And if I can ever be of service please let me know.