Studio Conversations (with Me)
It was my honor to be interviewed by Mark Monroe of Foothills Church this week as part of their Studio Conversations.
I shared my story, the briefest version ever, and then answered some really good questions, like:
How do you reconcile a loving God with evil in this world?
What are some hurdles in the church to bringing hope to the suffering?
How has my suffering helped me relate to the suffering Jesus endured on the cross? (So timely, with Easter right around the corner!)
There was one question that I'd wish I had answered more fully. So, I'll fill in my answer here.
Around minute 25, Mark asked, "What are some of the roadblocks to talking about suffering and hope within the church?" That led to a discussion of ways we can help a suffering friend. What I wished I had mentioned was a lesson that Chris and I learned over and over again in our trial. It is that when God puts a suffering friend on your mind, don't wait for them to ask for help. Just go.
What do I mean by "just go?" Well, we found that many friends wanted to help and were kind enough to ask Chris how they could help, but unfortunately he wasn't able to answer. That meant, there were people who wanted to help but couldn't because the person who needed help (Chris) was a roadblock to getting help for himself. Crazy, right? Either he was drowning in details or drowning in stress. Either way, a drowning victim doesn't always know how to ask for help. They're just trying to breathe.
So, we made a 2-part pact, Chris and I.
We decided to never turn down help. Ever. If someone wanted to help in a way that wasn't needed in that moment, we either asked them to help in a different way or we asked if we could take a rain check. To put that help on hold. We promised to call them when we needed them. Always, ALWAYS, they jumped at the chance to help when we called back. So, Part One: always plug in a friend when they offer to help.
We decided the next time we had a suffering friend, we would not wait for them to tell us what they need or want, we would just go. Chris went to sit with a friend at the hospital while she waited through her husband's surgery. She was alone because she never thought to ask someone to sit with her. She didn't think she needed it. But once he was there, she felt supported and realized she could've asked for this. So, Part Two: DON'T WAIT for our friend to ask, just go. You don't have to know what your friend needs. They don't even have to know. I think we get stuck in the thought that it's respectful to ask them what they need and meet that need. True. No argument there. But I would argue that ALSO, if you feel led to go, to just show up, you should do that. We, as a church, can support each other by just being present with a suffering friend. Just go.
Take a meal. It will get eaten. I promise.
Send a gift, card, flowers. It will be received as love. I promise.
Show up with a lawnmower and rake. They'll let you trim the yard. I promise.
So, that's my fuller answer.
If you'd like to WATCH our conversation, you can view it here or click the image below.
If you'd prefer to LISTEN to our conversation, podcast-style, you can listen here.
I hope you enjoy the conversation. And please, share it with a friend. (I mean it. Post a link on your Facebook page. Email it. However you share, please share it.)
Soli Deo Gloria.