As Christians we often feel that we need to have all the answers. We think that if we cannot respond in some way to someone in need then we have failed God as well as them. While it is true that we should always be prepared to give an answer to what we believe and stand for (1 Peter 3:15), there will come a time when we won’t have answers and we don’t always have to. Actually it sometimes means more to just be present and listen.
I have often struggled with this mindset of believing that I must fix every problem especially if it involves somebody else. Many times my wife has poured her heart out to me and I have been quick to try and fix her and the situation when she really just needed me to be there and listen to her. I have tried to learn to be a better listener with her and also others as well and accept the fact that I don’t have to have all the answers or fix every problem. I believe many people pass up opportunities to minister to someone because they don’t think they know enough when all the person needed was an ear or shoulder. When I first started serving as a pastor in my first church, I was always so nervous when I would visit somebody in the hospital. I always felt that I needed to have a speech ready or special words to encourage them. A mentor at the time told me that the people in the hospital were really just glad that I was there in the first place and that I didn’t need to control the conversation or have magic words ready. He said to just be authentic, real and most of all present!
As Christians we don’t have to have it all together or have all the answers, but we DO need to be present! You would be surprised at how much it means to somebody who is hurting to just know that you are there for them even if you don’t have any immediate solutions to their situation. In fact most of the time God uses us the most when we are vulnerable because that is when He begins to work through us. It is His power that we rely on when we just slow down, listen, and allow Him to work instead to rushing to impart our own wisdom. So you don’t have all the answers? Great now let’s be present, patient, good listeners, and lovingly point others to the one who does have all the answers!