How do you help people who are hurting?
“If you asked me for a Bible passage to teach you how to help suffering people, I would point to 1 Corinthians 13 and its eloquent depiction of love. That is what a suffering person needs: love, and not knowledge and wisdom. As is so often his pattern, God uses very ordinary people to bring about healing.” (yet he does speak also to the need of knowledge and wisdom—he isn’t ruling these out).
“ Nevertheless, love itself breaks down into specific and practical acts. We meet suffering people in every school, in every church, in every public building, as well as in every hospital. All of us will one day join them. As I’ve listened to what they have to say, I have come up with four ‘frontiers’ where every suffering person will do battle: the frontiers of fear, helplessness, meaning, and hope. Our response to suffering depends largely on the outcome of our struggle in those frontiers.”
Speaking to the frontier of fear:
He mentions Donne—what one of the things Donne was taught in his suffering---“Obsessed, he reviews every biblical occurrence of the word fear. As he does so, it dawns on him that life will always include circumstances that incite fear: if not illness, financial hardship, if not poverty, rejection, if not loneliness, failure. In such a world, Donne has a choice: to fear God, or to fear everything else.”
Speaking more about Donne he said, “ In the most important sense, it did not matter whether his sickness was a chastening or merely a natural accident. In either case he would trust God, for in the end trust represents the proper fear of the Lord.” He goes on to explain we may not understand what God is doing , “But the underlying issue is whether he is a trustworthy ‘physician.’”
“ What is the right way to approach a God we fear? In answer, Donne holds up a phrase from Matthew’s story of the women who discovered Jesus’ empty tomb: they hurried away from the scene ‘with fear and yet great joy.’ Donne sees in their ‘two legs of fear and joy’ a pattern for himself……….They ran from the scene on legs of fear, yes, but also on legs of joy, for the strange happenings were signs of the best possible news: Jesus had conquered even death. And with that same hope John Donne found at last a fear of which he need not be afraid.”
I am posting these thoughts here--for reminders of me to think on these things.