10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
Today’s verses tell us we should share what we have with those that don’t. But what about difficult things we carry around with us, like grief? Could we share that? Should we?
Or how about faith? Is that something we can lend out? My answer to both: I think we can, though I didn’t always think this way. Losing a spouse can do that to you.
Let’s go back to today’s Bible verses. In verse 11, John is John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all shared what we had with those that don’t? Even when it comes to difficult things, there’s space for those to be shared as well. Now, we all grieve differently, but it was good for me to find this out early in my grief journey.
I was part of a GriefShare group, offered by a local church in Lake County, Florida. One tool we used was daily devotionals. One was particularly important to me. It was called, “Lend Me Your Faith.”
It began with, “Faith is what carries you through,” according to Dr. H. Norman Wright. “It is vital. But the problem is, during an intense loss or trauma or crisis sometimes you wonder, ‘Where is my faith? Where is my hope?’”
I felt that way. I know that faith is the answer to grieving. But, like Dr. Wright said, sometimes you wonder where your faith has gone. He added, “And that’s when you need somebody else to walk alongside you and say, ‘Let me lend you my faith and my hope until your own comes back again.’”
Faith did carry me through. But I also realized that my faith took a big hit during my wife’s 11-year illness.
I know I’ve wondered and been perplexed about it. I know that faith is the answer to grief, and I suppose any other question I have. But, like Dr. Wright said, sometimes you wonder where it’s gone.
Wright added, “And that’s when you need somebody else to walk alongside you and say, ‘Let me lend you my faith and my hope until your own comes back again.’”
I know I’ve leaned on Greg, my daughter Emily’s father-in-law, and also my best friend. Greg was with me pretty much every step of the way and even took me to the hospital when I had my stroke. I don’t know what I would have done without him.
My friend, Fran Powers, was another. She loaned me her “faith family,” a Wednesday night Bible study at Altoona Methodist Church. This group of folks lifted my spirits on so many occasions and I felt like I’d been attending there my whole life. One of the greatest gifts they gave me were the prayers they offered each week.
There have been others. Certainly my two daughters helped as they meandered on their own paths. I know there have been times when I’ve barely had faith at all. But you remember what Jesus said about faith that’s as small as a mustard seed. It can move a mountain. I still haven’t experienced that type of faith, but I do know that I’ve always had enough faith to take the next infinitesimal step.
Along the way I got in touch with my first girlfriend from the summer of 1971. A year and a half ago we got married.
And now I feel I have something to share with others suffering a loss or maybe just suffering. So yes, I feel others can share my grief. And I can also share others’ grief as well.
What’s more, I can also share my faith, lending it to grieving people who are having trouble holding on to their own.
by Rick Reed
For Pondering & Prayer
I know that everybody grieves differently. But I also know that others can share my grief. And I can share others’ grieving. I am so glad to have found that out. God didn’t put us here to be solo Christians, but to be lenders and sharers of faith.
Prayer: Almighty One, it’s truly amazing to me that you have considered my grieving and that you don’t want me to do it alone. And now I feel I can help others with their grieving too. Amen.