Ephesians 4:2 – Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (NIV)
How often when someone asks, "How are you?" we instantly say, "I'm fine," when in fact we are not. Either we don't wish to talk about our problems, or we think, "Who really cares?"
A while back, I sat for a moment in the sanctuary after the service, just before leaving to have fellowship in the auditorium for a coffee hour. I paused and said a silent prayer, asking God to be with me as I chatted with those in attendance.
I really didn't know why I prayed, other than that I sometimes have trouble in a crowded room finding someone to talk to. A little shy? Perhaps, more likely, a little quiet. I picked up my coffee and proceeded around the room, when I focused in on one person whom I had not seen for some time, and I knew that she had not been well.
The conversation was not what I was expecting to hear, but as I listened to her share a heartfelt situation, I thanked her for sharing. How can we pray for one another if we don't know what to ask for?
We may think that no one wants to listen, or that we really don't want to share, because "it's private". But holding in, even the things that we think are private, can fester and make one ill, so why not try to share with a fellow Christian, someone we trust?
Sharing in love, caring in love, praying in love, one for another, in times of trouble: this is when it could be said with feeling, "I'm fine! I found someone who cares."
Now I know why, for just that one moment in the sanctuary, I talked to God about finding someone to talk to, not knowing who it would be. We can know with all our heart that God leads us to those whom He wishes us to listen to and share with.
Prayer: Father in heaven, make us more sensitive in following Your calling in crowded rooms. In the places where we gather to talk of joy-filled things, there are among us the lonely, the depressed, the grieving, the hurt, and the elderly, who just need a word of comfort, a listening ear, a hand to hold. Enable us to focus and to observe, so that, when things are not going well, we might be led beyond "I'm fine," when it's not so. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.