Tonight Terri and I visited with a woman who had just lost her son in a tragic accident. We went to minister to a grieving woman and ended up being ministered by the grace of God. The experience was so raw and powerful that the only way that I can express it is in the poem that I wrote afterwards. I share it now in the hope that it will minister to you. Be forewarned, it is not your typical ministry session filled with words of wisdom, nor is it comfortable. Rather, it reveals to us, to me at least, that it is not we who minister but God. I will write more after I share the poem:
Sat I in silence bereft of words
Wishing upon wish to flee
Away! Away! Not here!
How can one take in such sorrow?
Such pain, such emptiness?
Awash in tears not mine
Drowning in hurt I cannot feel
Yet I do, I know not why
Deep searing shards upon the soul
Piercing cruel, twisting, rending
So, sat I in silence bereft of words
For every word is empty
Devoid of meaning
Every utterance hollow, incongruent
In desperate silence scream
Loud cacophony of swirling madness
Drowning all, sinking, sinking
Pulled down in dreadful vortex
Powerless to resist
Sat I in silence in desperation pray
One word, one lonely word
It is all that's left
Over and over
Lord! Lord! Lord!
Single worded plea
Sat I in silence reach
To tear stain cheeks
Capturing trembling hands
To grasp and hold
To still not hers but mine
That trembling in my soul
Sat we in silence bereft of words
Bereft of words save one
Awash and tossed in silent storm
Pulling free amidst two words
Two words not ours
Tears cease, sobbing subside,
Giving way to faltering breath
Then two words not mine but hers
Thank me? For what? My single worded plea?
Truly yet not I, yet not I!
It is done, we talk ...
Walk I in cold night air
Heart pounding from hours passed
In silent query rise
Is this what filled your bosom Lord
On Calvary's tree?
This night I took on one and nearly died
You took on mine and all the world
To set us free ...
To set us free!!
Tonight we learned many important lessons, Terri and I. The first is that it is always God who ministers, not us. For all my wisdom and education, for all my knowledge of God's Word, I was bereft of words of comfort and nothing we can say will suffice. Sometimes silence is best. We must always remember that it is always He who heals the broken.
The second is that all it takes is a willing heart and love. All we did was share of ourselves, nothing more is needed. God will take that and He will use it, sometimes in ways that will astonish us.
Third is that when we lack words, He knows and He will speak to us and for us from within our poverty and multiply it in ways beyond our wildest imagination.
Fourth is that He is faithful and nothing more is needed of us but to call on Him, sometimes literally with a single worded plea.
Fifth, is that if we are willing vessels He will work in us building our faith in ways that we cannot fathom. Sometimes, those ways are not "gentle" as we would perceive gentleness and sometimes they can be sorrowful to the point that we might think them unbearable. But if we lean on Him, trusting Him, truly, He will not test us beyond what we can bear. Tonight God gave us, Terri and me, a glimpse of His great sacrifice for us upon the cross.
May this sharing build you from faith to faith.
I have no words to convey how deeply this poem touched me. Save to say that it describes perfectly the emotions I too have felt when sitting silently beside a friend who lost a child.
I can't imagine how Christ was able to bear the weight of my sorrow, my pain, my sin when we almost crumble under the shared pain of one other person.
Thank you for this.