There's a friend I've been ministering to here, knowing that God is intersecting our lives intentionally. We've become much closer lately and I've spent a lot of time listening. She is utterly broken right now--unemployed, having health problems, and desperate to have a husband and family.
She came home late last night from another disappointing attempt to connect with a group of women her age. She began talking just about the problems of that evening, but it turned into much more--a revealing of her deepest fears and truth of her current place in life. Sitting on those hard chairs in my dining room as she sobbed out her life's disappointments, I was close to being a deer in headlights. I'm not a stranger to hearing others' pain, but I've been able to speak Christ's hope freely over them because they knew Him. She doesn't know Him and I knew this wasn't a conversion moment.
I didn't speak very much until she started talking about working so hard to build a good life that includes a husband and a family. WORKING. It resounded in my head. I know that one...that was me, that IS me when I forget that God works on my behalf and for my best. Then she mentioned praying and how she can't set foot in a church without losing it emotionally. I poked around a bit about root causes. Somehow I said something about letting down pride and that maybe her reaction is to a palpable sense of God's love for her while she's in a church building. I cringed for the rebuttal, but received nothing. I knew He was speaking now. I was praying all while she spoke for God to show Himself. I told her that she didn't need to work to gain God. I think her jaw almost fell to the floor. I didn't have another statement or a qualifier--I was still perched in my uncomfortable chair at 2am, clinging to Christ for what to say or do.
A few minutes after that, the intensity was over and we were on safer, more mundane ground again. She gave me a fierce hug before going upstairs and asked me to say that part again about God. At the moment, I didn't remember what I had said, but she prompted me through it. I was still racing with the Father on every response.
It was difficult to be in front of someone so broken who doesn't know Christ. All those platitudes ingrained in me fell woefully short. I feel her pain but fear that I'm not empathetic enough to her situation. I cannot make things better for her. I cannot save her. I must remain desperate enough in this friendship to hang on to the Spirit for discernment and guidance for my every word.
Father, guard this house so that nothing but your love and truth reign here.