I believe discovering what we need most is the key to taking our first step when our faith has been rocked by a trial. The answer is certain to vary. Some people need to be held and reassured the people around them aren’t going to desert them in their hours of need. Others need someone to help them sort through initial feelings of shock, disappointment or anger. (yesterday’s post)
Three needs seem to be fairly consistent among those facing a crisis. These are not the only needs, nor are they expressed the same way in every situation. They do, however, provide a starting point for the all-important first steps of a journey. I call these three, “comfort”, “control” and “cause.”
We seek comfort from God and others when we are hurting. We know God is a compassionate Father who cares for us through angels, the providential unfolding of circumstances, and the love of His people. The Psalmist once wrote, “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul” (Psalm 94:19).
I have met people who find great comfort in making everyone aware of their needs, and I have known those who were only willing to open their hearts up to a select few, or one. In most cases it becomes quickly evident to everyone how those who are struggling wish to be comforted and by whom. Normally, this is a natural and healthy development, and a good first step. Defining for others what we want in the way of comfort helps ensure our needs will be met while our personal space is protected.
In my own life I appreciate a larger group knowing my struggles, but I only reveal the full extent of my pain to those I trust not to share my heart with others. We are all different in this regard, and we do need to be careful we don’t limit God’s intervention in our lives by pushing people away. Yet, clarifying how we wish to manage the compassion we need helps everyone.
What comforts you when you are going through a trial? How do you communicate to others how you wish to be loved?
Dear God, help me help others help me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.