Weep with those who weep
Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep”.
Extra Reading: Romans 12:1-20
When one gets into full-time pastoral ministry, you are warned that a pastor is on duty 24 hours of each day. I never believed this statement until I was woken up two o’clock in the morning, to rush to hospital to pray with an 89 year old lady who was about to die and leave this world. When I arrived at Ga-Rankuwa Hospital, the doctor and nurse guided me to her bed. Her body was shaking and was unable to talk. Her close family members were all there. I shared some Scriptures with her, held her right hand and prayed with her. It was like she is recovering after our prayer. Family members asked me to drive back home to catch up with some sleep. Just as I slipped into bed my cellphone rang again 03h15 to be told that the old lady has just passed away peacefully 20 minutes ago. I knelt close to my bed to pray and thank God about the precious life He has given us. Family members were devastated. The devil started saying to me that “You have failed the family in their darkest hour”. My mind was already on the funeral arrangements of the deceased.
The next morning at nine o’clock in the morning, one family member drove into my yard to thank me for sacrificing my time to be with them at the hospital the previous night. I became a bit emotional and shed a tear. One of our challenges in ministry is in learning how to respond to others when they honestly acknowledge their feelings. I find a very helpful principle in the conversations between Job and his friends. Job said: “The words of one in despair belong to the wind” (Job 6:26). What people say in an emotional crisis is irrelevant, other than to convey how deeply hurt they are. We have a tendency to fixate on words and ignore the hurt. When grief-stricken Mary and Martha greeted Jesus with the news of Lazarus’ death, He wept (John 11:35). Paul’s words crystallize it for us: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). We are not supposed to instruct those who weep; we are supposed to weep with those who weep. What is your response when someone shares bad news with you?
Prayer: Father God, teach me to identify with the pain of those who are hurting. Give me the freedom to respond emotionally to those who are in pain. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.