A note from Kelly King: Maybe you’ve been through a difficult experience or season in life. Maybe you’ve encountered great loss or disappointment. Maybe you’ve said, “I didn’t sign up for this pain.” If you’ve questioned how God can use those terrible times, consider the verses Kaye Hurta shares today from 2 Corinthians 1. We may not like going through difficult circumstances, but God can use them to comfort others.
Author Lysa TerKeurst said this, “God doesn’t comfort us to make us comfortable. He comforts us to make us comfort-able: able to be used as vessels through which God can pour out His mercy, love, and comfort to others.” I love that! She’s spring boarding from a familiar verse, 2 Corinthians 1:3-6, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
You see, when it comes to helping others in a crisis, we are God’s plan A.
A crisis is defined as: “a turning point (for better or worse); instability or danger leading to a decisive change.” Times of crisis are defining moments, and there is no better moment for you or your team to be present in someone’s life in caring and comfort-able ways.
What crises are the women, families, and people around you facing today? There are many I’m sure; here are just a few: illness, death, broken relationships, all manner of abuse (emotional, verbal, spiritual, physical, sexual, child), financial troubles, kid trouble, divorce, and traumatic events.
What are you currently doing to make yourself or your team comfort-able?
Because crisis rarely makes an appointment, here are some ways to be prepared when it hits. Be prepared:
1. Personally. Be aware of the crisis within. How are you?
- Emotionally: Is there any unhealed area in your own heart? What is your motivation for helping? What triggers you? Is there unresolved pain in your own story?
- Spiritually: Stay in God’s Word regularly, keep short accounts with Him, memorize Scripture, and pray passionately. Knowing your spiritual gifts is also helpful.
- Physically: It’s important to stay healthy and rested. Eat well and exercise often. (I can’t say anything more there, or I’ll be too convicted!)
2. Practically with next steps/referrals. If you haven’t already, build a referral network that includes Christian counselors, physicians, psychiatrists, local funeral homes, domestic violence shelters, transitional housing, financial advisors, attorneys, crisis pregnancy centers, Department of Children and Family Services contacts, police officers/first responders, drug and alcohol centers, local recovery programs, and grief support groups.
Other practical ideas for next-step helps include ride sharing, help with meals, and help with kids or housework. It can be useful to involve other ministries in your church or community, such as small groups, men’s groups, student ministry, etc.). Other ideas: run errands, bring snacks, toilet paper, gift cards, spa dates, lunch dates, and the ever-popular Starbucks run!
When people are in a crisis, their first response is usually shock. Being prepared to help and providing the ministry of presence will speak God’s love to them in remarkable ways.
Next week we will talk more about the ministry of presence and conclude with two additional ways to be prepared for the crises around us.
Kaye Hurta has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through LifeWay Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing, or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. They live in the Chicago burbs where they are both on staff at Willow Creek Community Church. Kaye is also a contributing author for the LifeWay resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.