Do you know people in deep places? People you want to help but don’t know what to say or do? Being a friend in the deep isn’t hard. All it takes is understanding, compassion, and truth. All of which can be shared through acts of kindness—some simple, some profound, all steeped in God’s love.
We talk a lot about how we feel and what to do when we’re in a deep place of struggle and difficulty, but what do we do when the person in that deep place isn’t us, but rather it’s someone we know and love?
Here are some things we can do:
“When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to show their grief. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.” Job 2:12-13
Take the time to enter into their pain
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15
Really love them
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Romans 12:9-10
Roll up your sleeves and help
We’re not talking about being a fixer or a rescuer. We’re talking about paying attention to what needs they may have in the deep and seeing what we can do to help ease those needs. This doesn’t have to be a big thing. We can help in small, meaningful ways. Never underestimate the power of a small act of kindness and caring.
This is our big gun. Our best offering to those in need. It’s not the last resort, it’s the first priority. Whether we see results or not, we pray in obedience and faithfulness.
Remember where the power to be a giver comes from
“One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:24-25
God is our unending, untiring, all-powerful source. The secret is being so filled with Jesus, so satisfied in Him, that it overflows to others. We can give and give and give out of that abundance. We don’t need to receive when we’re already full. When we open ourselves to everything God wants to pour into us, it simply overflows.
Being a friend to your readers
The experience and understanding you gain by being a true friend will inform your writing, your message to your readers. The last thing you want to do when you’re writing for hurting people is to offer surface solutions. The only way to minister to them, to point them, in their pain, to the true source of comfort, is to be honest and authentic about the struggle, the journey.
The church today loves to focus on God’s love and grace and comfort, but too often they seem to forget that God is to be revered. Even feared. He is love, but He is also majesty and justice and judgment. Come to the deep and explore things we seldom seem to feel today: true awe and reverence.
If we don’t know the awe of God for ourselves, if we don’t experience and understand what it is to fear a holy and mighty God, how can we write the whole truth of who God is, of what God is? Yes, He loves us and extends grace and all the beautiful aspects we love to focus on. But friends, never lose sight of the truth that God is more than the pretty side. He has a fierce side. A jealous side. A fearful side. He is not to be taken lightly, he is to be revered. More than anyone or anything else in your life. When we love Him for all of who He is, our writing will take on new depth and truth. And our readers will benefit.
16 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. 19 As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.
18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Nahum 1:2-3; 5-6
2 The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on his foes and vents his wrath against his enemies. 3 The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet… 5 The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it. 6 Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him.
It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Isaiah 40:12-15; 25-26
12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens. Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? 13 Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor? 14 Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding? 15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust… 25 “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
“…The Lord said to Moses, ‘Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”
6 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
4 Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple. 5 You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, 6 who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength, 7 who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the tumult of the peoples. They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.
Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: 2 “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? 3 Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. 4 Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. 5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? 6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone 7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?”
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.