by Paul Thompson
Where do we turn when the unthinkable happens? When the phone call comes in the middle of the night, when the employer passes across to us the pink slip, when the spouse walks out, to whom are we to turn?
In prayer, we turn to God, but many times we need that tangible expression of God’s presence in another human being. Who do we call?
In May 2003, my wife went in for a “routine” colonoscopy. She was 38 years old, so we were not that concerned about the procedure or the findings. When the surgeon pulled me aside and told me it was cancer, we were devastated.
What do you do when the unthinkable happens, when the doctor says your wife has that dreaded disease?
Scripture reminds us in Galatians 6:2 to “bear one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
We are to hold one another in loving and caring relationships of support and encouragement.
My first call that May afternoon was to a dear friend. He dropped everything and came to pray and stay with us. He couldn’t cure cancer. He couldn’t fix our grief. But his ministry of presence, helping to bear our burdens, was certainly a divine gift, fulfilling the real intent of Christ-like living.
My wife passed away in 2008.
Last July, I moved from the Asheville/Hendersonville area to Huntersville United Methodist Church, knowing it was time for a new beginning.
I am blessed to have found a congregation that understands what it means to “bear one another’s burdens,” to live in authentic Christian community.
Our church is striving to create the time and space to develop the deep relationships of life. Having been through my own trials, I want to be available for that call in the middle of the night, when someone needs my help to bear some burden.
I believe God is pleased when we do this.
Paul Thompson is senior pastor at Huntersville United Methodist Church.