I've been talking with a friend through a maze of uncertainty in her life, and people treating her badly, and her emotions and wondering how to take the next step... it's not been easy. I truly feel with her.
My response? I've run the gamut ...of sitting by her, being close to hear her heart. To getting practical and offering to make phone calls to some friends who could intervene better than I (sometimes a man has a special ability to solve problems, that a woman just doesn't have!). I mean, we can talk until we're blue, and bring the tissues... but sometimes you gotta just move into the situation with real hands and feet and DO something. Another part of my mercy has been in sharing with her truths and seeing if she can see God in this whole thing. Three big truths, anyway, have helped ME, at least-- not sure how much she's gotten out of all of it... But I have tried to keep these present ( in the right doses ) in our conversations.
1) I tell her what I SEE-- while listening. Hiding my ideas or insights doesn't help anything. I tell her what mistake may have added to the present situation (so she doesn't get blown away by something similar another time). I tell her what I observe in the attitudes or character of others that's not so "nice"-- and that God will re-pay them (but we don't have to). I encourage her to take the harder path -- but maybe a wiser one-- versus just trying to get out of the pain.
I've heard of people who have seen beyond the obvious story to hidden blindspots, but they thought the person was in a "bad way" anyway, so didn't want to make it worse by sharing this. What?! Truth may hurt-- but it always, if followed, will make things "better." And I usually only withhold truth from a person when I feel they're too stubborn to listen, OR when I don't really give a care. True love: shares real facts and passes on wise insights.
2) I tell her whom I KNOW -- I believe that God has a bigger purpose in it all. He's in charge. He's not surprised or scared. I can assure her that God loves her more than anything (and say this several times!). He is her Father and He'll protect her. Let's not use fancy words like "sovereignty," unless we can explain it, gently, in really basic terms, to someone holding a wet Kleenex.
3) I tell her where she's "LIVING" -- I encourage my friend to live ABOVE the circumstances. She is with Christ-- seated with Him next to God the Father, so to speak... above the dirt and daily misunderstandings of this world. No matter what happens, it will be short-lived. So why does my attitude and why do my stomach juices have to be bouncily dependent on each new "news" of battles seemingly lost or enemies trying to steal my joy? The view from a Heavenly perspective really gives me fresh energy to wait. God will intervene, as we pray. And I tell her that I'm praying for BIG things, because we have a fantastically big God (well, see Number #2!). :-)
"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." - Colossians 3:1-2 -