Last January, I was diagnosed with a rare ovarian cancer. In an effort to better define and determine the pathology reports in question, I was scheduled for surgery. I knew going in that I would come out with some life-long repercussions, but this surgery was the only viable option available.
I was scared, but trusting God in the midst.
You know what was one of the most important things for me during this time… people. And I can remember one friend in particular who was a rock for me.
She knew she couldn’t fix it. She knew she couldn’t change it. But she could be there… and she was.
She exhibited what is referred to as the “Ministry of Presence.”
This amazing woman went to pre-op appointments with me. She sat in the waiting room while they drew blood. Knowing my fear of IV needles, she held my hand as they prepared me for my CT Scan. She took me to get oatmeal and coffee between appointments.
She brought my husband peanut butter cookies (his favorite) to the hospital and sat with my family during the 4.5 hour surgery.
This friend called, emailed, and texted me regularly. Her voice… her face… her touch became a rock for me during one of the hardest times in my life.
She was Jesus with skin… and I will forever love her for that.
Not only does it make a huge difference here and now… but we see the importance of this ministry in the Bible, too. After His death and resurrection, Christ’s presence showed the power it had to console and comfort the needy.
If you remember… when Christ died on the cross, His disciples were understandably distraught and hopeless. They were in crisis because the man they loved and dedicated themselves to follow was gone. Once they saw him alive and well after His resurrection, they were comforted by His presence. According to John, when this weary bunch saw him… they were filled with joy.
John 20:19-20 reads, “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”
You see, it was the power of Christ’s presence that moved his disciples from the tragedy of death to the triumph of life.
We have the ability to do the same for those we love. Our presence makes a difference because it allows people the ability to transcend the painful and difficult events that affect their lives.
What does it look like? You could:
- hold their hands
- sit with them as they cry
- hold them in their disbelief
- listen as they process
Don’t buy into the lie that what people need most is “their space” when times are difficult. Don’t sit back and wait for an invitation to come over. Be careful not to assume they will “call” if they need something.
Listen friends! When tragedy strikes those you love, know without a doubt that they NEED the Ministry of Presence. They NEED you!!
Look, when others are hurting… don’t be passive and sit comfortably until you’re called on. That’s the easy way out.
Like my friend did for me, step up and be “Jesus with skin.” I will never forget what she did for me…
… by just being there. Thank you, friend.