Being part of God’s "just in time" compassion

21 Jul

Two weeks ago I needed some welding done so I went to a country shop that Bob (not his real name) owns. He is 74 and has been a faithful servant of the Lord, visiting Mexico regularly to encourage and support church planters. We spent a few minutes on what I needed then talked a half hour about ministry and the world's need for Christ.

Yesterday as we were preparing our eldest son to head to medical school (he left today) I called Bob to see if we could get a small welding repair on our son's car. When he answered his voice was broken and he told me of a tragedy that occurred just a day after I had seen him two weeks ago. Besides welding jobs Bob leases and runs large equipment. Some neighbors were walking by as he was backing up a big machine. His wife saw them and tried to get them out of the way, but it was too late. The machine ran over and killed a baby and severely injured his wife. Bob was as broken a man as I've ever heard. The burden of what happened has him in constant tears as he sits by his wife's side in the ICU, fighting for her life.

What can one say to bring comfort? Christian platitudes are clearly not what is needed. I did what should be for me (though too often forgotten) the most natural thing. I simply asked Bob if I could pray for him and trusted that God would give me the words. They weren't fancy, and really just came from my heart that was so heavy for this brother. I prayed just a few minutes, simple and short, asking the Father for mercy and grace. Bob thanked me and as I hung up I knew something special had just happened. I could have called anytime over these past few weeks, but God knew that Bob needed prayer right then. I have no idea how else he will give Bob his grace. I did know that I had been used in a small way by God to show Bob that there may not be satisfactory answers, but God is with him in this deep pain. My words were not what ministered to Bob, it was God's demonstration to him that in the valley, he is still with his children and he brings his comfort at the right time from the most unexpected sources.

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