Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
Have you ever asked, “Why me?” when you faced pain or heartache? How can a church or a church leader minister to hurting people who are asking the question, “Why?”
Let me propose three crucial facets of ministry to people who might ask this question in the midst of hardship. We must deal with this issue by teaching, love, and encouragement.
Teaching is foundational to ministry in such situations. The question itself can be prompted by bad theology. Many of us living in sheltered and affluent societies have the notion that if you are a Christian, or possibly a good person, God will not allow terrible things to happen in your life. This is a false doctrine. You will not find it anywhere in Scripture. I believe it is legitimate to ask God that you not be led into the temptation that comes in trials. But in John 16:33 Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation.” Your people need to know that God has not promised them the American dream. The purpose of life is not comfort or pleasure.
However, it is important to note that you need to teach these things before your people come into heartache. The parents of a teenager killed in a car accident don't need your teaching in the crisis. They need God's love through you and through your church. Sometimes the less you say in a tragic situation the more God's love can be poured out through you and your presence with them. It is more important to pray with them than it is to teach them. They need your prayers and the prayers of the whole church family to endure the trial.
Even in trials you can encourage people to pray, to seek God, and to see that He is at work in the situation. And you can encourage them to seek God's glory in the midst of crises. There is an answer to the question, “Why.” It is actually the same answer to the question of why God blesses us. The purpose of heartache and blessing is to glorify His name. One of the ways God will be glorified through trials is by the character that He develops in you. You can encourage people to trust that God is working in their lives. James 2 calls us to rejoice when we fall into many kinds of trials, because we know that tribulation develops patient endurance. James goes on to say we must let endurance produce its perfect work in our lives. In Romans 5 we find the same promise. There Scripture tells us that endurance develops character. And character produces hope. And hope does not disappoint because the love of God is poured out on others through our lives. 2 Corinthians 1:3,4 speaks to this.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
So, let patience have her perfect work
Of character and hope in and through our lives.