Many of you have heard me say that God gave me a spiritual gift of encouragement (Romans 12:8). What exactly does this mean?
I always hesitate to share this part of my life—what I consider my ministry to be, because often I think doing so could be taken the wrong way—but here goes.
It’s easy enough to tell someone we’ll pray for them or offer a positive cliché when we hear bad news. Sometimes this is just the awkwardness or shock at the moment we receive the news...Life’s not fair…God doesn’t give us more than we can handle…God will hold you in his loving arms…You’re tough—you’ll make it through. And all that jazz.
It’s normal to want to be positive in the face of hardship. But long ago, God placed on my heart and gave me the instinct to acknowledge the hardship first. I’m sorry you have cancer or another potentially fatal disease, or your child was born with a deformity, or your husband has been unemployed for two years and your house has been foreclosed, or your child is going to prison (actual burdens people have shared with me in the last year).
I’m not going to lie. I will acknowledge that life stinks sometimes. After all, this isn’t the Garden of Eden. I’ve learned there is positivity in this approach based on the responses I get in return. And while I’m in the trenches with those hurting, I offer them God’s Hand and a prayer, and with God’s help, try to pull them up. Some may disagree with my approach or attitude, but it works.Mainly, I listen. From the feedback I get, it seems not many people do. If you have a problem you’d like me to pray for or listen to, please e-mail me. My contact information is listed on the right.