Wednesday, April 19, 2017
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When a little child gets home later than they're supposed to, you know there's going to be something on the other end. There's going to be a worried and not very happy parent waiting for them. I heard recently about a little girl who got home unusually late from school only to find a daddy who was, of course, not happy at all. He asked the little girl why she was late. She said, "Because my friend broke her dolly." Her dad said, "Oh, okay, so you stayed with her to fix it?" He didn't expect her gentle little reply, "No, Daddy. I stayed with her to help her cry."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "A Shoulder to Cry On."
You may know someone right now who needs a friend like that; someone to help them cry. It's part of being a follower of Jesus actually to be that kind of friend, that kind of coworker, that kind of person in your family.
Paul talks about this caring, sensitive, unselfish lifestyle in our word for today from the Word of God in Romans 12:15. Here's what He says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice: mourn with those who mourn." When you're rejoicing, you need someone to share your joy. When you're hurting, you need someone to share your burden. If you're a Jesus-follower, that's supposed to be you for the people you know. Because that's how your Master lived His life. He was actually attracted to people who were hurting. He followed the need.
We don't always do this too well, do we? Look, you're probably like me. You've got a really busy life, you've got a full schedule. Someone who needs comfort and encouragement and who needs time...well, let's be honest. They can feel like an interruption, an intrusion, maybe even a nuisance. Those feelings in themselves are not a problem unless you allow those feelings to give you a hard heart and to make you unresponsive to a need that God has dropped into your life. Yeah, God has dropped into your life. And that's what it is: God is hearing someone's cry, God is feeling someone's pain, and God is sending to them one of His children to show them His love; one of His children like you.
Which means that we can't be all rigid about our sacred schedules and plans and our "to-do" lists. We need this Spirit-led flexibility to stop for someone who needs a friend to "help them cry." People are a lot more important than tasks.
One reason we don't move in next to someone who's hurting honestly is because sometimes we don't know what to say. You know, that really doesn't matter. Your job is to let them talk, to let them cry, to listen in a way that you can identify what that person needs right now, and then to see if you or someone you know can help with some of those needs. I've heard of a tribe in Africa where they have a wonderful custom. When someone dies, one of the elders of the village comes to the grieving family's hut and just sits there quietly for a couple of days. He doesn't say anything; he doesn't do anything, unless he is asked to. He's just there, and his presence alone is comfort. That's not a bad model.
And strangely, what often qualifies you to be a comforter turns out to be the hardest things you ever faced in your life. Because you've been the one who cried, you can help someone else who's crying. You are God's wounded healer. Or as Paul says, "God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God" (2 Corinthians 1:4).
So would you like to be like your Savior? Then stop for people who need you, and be there to help them cry.