The blog today won’t be for everyone. If it’s not, then there are lots of other ways to bless your someone. On the home page, scroll down to the Categories menu and reach out in a way that is meaningful to you!
However, the gift of conversation is a great blessing. And if faith conversation sparks an interest when you think about reaching out, then in my experience your someone may greatly appreciate your prayers and your openness to discussing faith during times of serious difficulty.
Faith Is A Bigger Deal During Crises
When Shane and I were living in the world of emergency rooms and dialysis centers and chemo, we were around a lot of people in serious situations. And faith was there. Faith wasn’t considered impolite or dismissed; it wasn’t ousted from the room or relegated to the privacy of one’s own mind. People were praying and asking for prayers and wanting to talk about faith quite openly.
Your someone may express a desire to examine faith, and of course you may find that you are really not the one to bless him in this way. Or, you may find that exploring the topic in advance will give you the courage to open the door to these conversations now and again.
When life is moving along without any major crises, then vague and noncommittal faith often seems good enough. No rush to pin things down, no sense of pressing need. However, during hard times, those generalizations rarely give encouragement or peace. Simply thinking to yourself that I once heard something or I was thinking maybe are suddenly not solid enough.
Is Expertise Required?
Of course, conversation could go on long into the night or stretch over days and weeks. It could even involve study aids and experts. But it doesn’t need to.
And yes, when difficulties stretch out over months and years, big questions about Why me? and the like can be discussed at length, with interest. A few may appreciate help chasing down theological clarification. Extended periods of struggle make it feel more valuable to uncover solid, time-tested truths.
However, in an immediate crisis, big theological questions are rarely the goal, especially when the mind is muddled with meds and exhaustion. Instead, in a hospital or after being fired or when the house has burned down or the friend has died, thoughts are often centered on taking one step in a purposeful direction: How exactly do I pray? Can someone pray for me even if I’m not a member of their group? What does God expect of me right now? Is that God I feel beside me, and if so how do I respond? What do I do as a praying person when suddenly no words come out?
So today I just thought it would be good to say out loud: If you are so inclined, don’t be afraid to bring faith into your conversations when blessing your someone during hard times. You need not assume you’ll be bringing up something he hasn’t had on his mind already.
Share What You Know
Don’t worry that you must answer in ways that cover every religion and worldview. Answer any questions by sharing what you know, what your faith experience has been. Listeners appreciate that. In our culture today, people are aware that there are a variety of faith experiences in the world. Your someone wants to know yours, not what you think someone else’s might be. If she wants to hear from someone else, then maybe you can get her in touch with a hospital chaplain or a good friend who has those experiences.
Folks have been interested in and asked about our faith during both our hard times and during theirs–more so than at other times. People raised in other cultures as well, such as Muslim or Hindu, have been excited to have someone bring up faith, because it is such a deep part of who we all are. And I have always chatted (or written) about what I know, which is Christian faith. And Christianity is indeed a faith that brings reassurance that our Creator, God, draws close to us during life’s struggles.
Are There Cautions?
Yes, there are faith conversations that go wrong. It might take several blogs to talk through the specifics, but suffice it to say that this is a blessing of conversation and not an encouragement to give a speech (for or against).
Now Is As Good A Time As Any
Your someone will be blessed if you are open to discussing faith during hard times. And because it’s Passover and Easter-time, our Creator may be on your someone’s mind this week even more than usual, as He is on mine.
A Joyful Easter to You!
Blog #26, COMMENT BELOW: Have you been blessed by sharing in a particular faith conversation during hard times?
4 thoughts on “Faith Conversations”
Believe it or not, my memories of such times have been more when I was at the “receiving” end or witnessing someone else at the receiving end. I have also been the one visiting and sharing in such situations from time to time but do not remember those times as clearly. I do know that in “down” times, feeling truly cared for by someone else, without having to put too much brain power into reacting to what I agree with or don’t of what they have to share about their faith, means so much! Also, notice my quotation marks around “receiving” — this is because I think when we give, we often receive way more than we give and it becomes a true dialogue and exchange of spiritual insights. Anyway, we can hope that during this Easter season and beyond, “matches made in heaven” will happen and people in need of nurturing and encouragement will benefit from prayers and spiritual sharing coming from others who care about them and reach out. Your post may help that happen somewhere, with someone!
Your experience receiving these blessings is good evidence of their value! And you’re right, we all receive when we reach out.
I love the way you describe not putting much brain power into reacting, that is exactly what I wanted to say about not making a speech or needing all kinds of expertise.
Matches made in heaven – that is such a great visual, thanks!
I agree with you that a person in a difficult situation (sickness, death of a family member etc.) often craves truly meaningful sharing and welcomes hearing the genuine offerings from the heart of the person speaking. It is not a time to feel you have to be polite but rather, to tell the truth. And sometimes it’s the other way around . . the person who is ailing wants to speak from his/her heart and wants empathetic listening . . and maybe loving dialogue. These sweet conversations can be high points in a person’s life even when he/she is at a “lowest point” due to the troubles going on of health or something else. Singing spiritual songs together or for each other and/.or reading Scriptures or other inspirational materials can enrich the conversation, too. Prayers from the heart can be deeply touching at these times. Happy Easter to whoever is reading these words!
What a wonderful comment. I can tell you’ve been there for someone many times. Happy Easter to you, as well!