November 21, Sunday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on February 9, 2014.  

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

Dealing With a Grieving Friend Who Kept on Talking”

Proverbs 18:24b

There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Many years ago, the wife a very close friend in the East Coast died of a car accident a few days before Christmas, leaving him with three small children.  Shortly afterwards, he moved back to Los Angeles where his mother worked in a flea market (the father had died two years earlier).  When we met again, he was looking for work.  Suffice it to say, he had better days.

One day, I finally organized a trip to the Getty Museum for his kids and mine.   But before leaving for his house, I prayed about what had been bothering me about him:  As we spoke on the phone several times after her passing, I noticed that my friend had a strong opinion about everything, with “THIS IS THE WAY IT IS” ring to whatever he opined.  Though I wanted to interject, asking, “What? Elaborate,” I didn’t because I remembered Proverbs 25:25: “Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.”  I don’t sing but I do enjoy a good intellectual discussion, but I felt I should let him vent out.  And on this day as well, I sensed that “In your thinking be adults” meant listening to my grieving friend. 

What compelled me even more to just listen was something he said as I misled him (who was driving) to the old Getty Museum in Malibu that was now closed; the new one was located some 30 miles away.  Embarrassed about my miscue I apologized, but as my friend made several turns to get back to the freeway, he just said softly, “It’s OK.”  He then resumed talking, and I was happy to listen.

The range of his topic varied from why Brita water is not pure enough to how to raise children right; from why Celion Dion is a good person for marrying her old manager to how to follow through on a golf swing.  However, while talking about how to do church right, he suddenly stopped and said, “Why am I telling this to a pastor who knows more than I do?”

Yes, my friend had a lot on his mind during those difficult days and I hope that that Saturday was a good release for him, at least for a day.  I hope he felt better knowing that he had worthy things to say that demanded attention.   Perhaps that’s one way of “mourn[ing] with those who mourn” (Rom. 12:15). 

Maybe, you can be a good listener for a friend who is going through a tough time.   When he/she is finished talking, tell him/her that you are praying for him/her.  I have been praying for my friend once a week ever since.

Prayer: Lord, remind me to listen to those who are grieving until they are really done talking.  Help me to pray for them until they can sense Your comfort.  Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: John 8

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