When it comes relational sensitivity and supporting people who are hurting, my wife is one of the wisest people I know. A number of years ago before we were married, friends of ours were going through a serious crisis. I was distressed because I visited, offered to bring meals, but it felt so miniscule, and it’s in my nature to try to solve the actual problem. There was no solving this problem, at least on my end. What could I do to really help? Jen said something that will stick with me forever.
“In a few months, that’s when they’ll need you. After a few weeks, the outpouring of support from lots of people will slow down. That’s when they’ll need you.”
That made sense. The churches I have been in have always been good at being available in the early stages of a crisis. There might be announcements at church; a member’s spouse passed away, they are having a memorial and offering to do meals or visits for the next several weeks. Someone lost his or her job and members rally to help network or help with the bills. There is usually a good response, unless the church is really off track and self-absorbed. The church is often willing and able to provide what I might call, for the lack of a better phrase, immediate presence. We rush to show up to a problem.