It happens to us all – that moment when we experience the sinking feeling that comes when something bad happens or we know something bad will happen and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. When it occurs, our perspective changes so quickly that we may find some of our most deep seated beliefs challenged. Now before you say: "This is depressing. What’s the next article I can read?" give it a couple more moments to hear the rest.
God has told us to expect difficulties and pain in our life. The reality is that we will all experience pain and loss. But we also will experience joy as we become a tool God uses to deliver "glimpses." When people fall into difficulty, loss or pain, they go through a number of typical stages, which often includes a period of disbelief and loss of hope where they cannot imagine things will ever be right again. Their world has been rearranged, and what seemed normal has been broken askew. My sister once described it as a swamp that, once mired in, becomes so heavy to wade through that it seems impossible. At this stage we have lost our vision for happiness. What we all need when we are in this state and have lost our vision is just a glimpse – a glimpse of hope. That one glimpse can be the difference between giving in and going on.
C.S. Lewis wrote a letter to someone who was struggling with faith and Christianity, and he used this sentence:
"… a glimpse is not a vision. But to a man on a mountain road by night, a glimpse of the next three feet of road may matter more than a vision of the horizon …"
Wow – there is so much truth in those words. At times we just need to be able to see far enough ahead to decide to take one step. The rest of it requires faith, which we all need to have, but is in short supply at those times. If you’ve been with someone who is going through a really tough time, then sometimes faith is one thing they do not have much of. When that happens, what do you do? You give them a little of yours! Sharing your faith with someone does not mean a walk down the Romans road or a lecture on the power of prayer or a bible study with them. It is as simple as a ministry of presence and a listening ear with a non-judgmental heart. Through these simple actions on your part, you can give them glimpses of faith and offer hope that life will return to some level of normalcy, even though their life may change. My sister described this as a "glimpse" of green pastures through the trees of that swamp. It helped me a lot in some tough times.
Do you know someone like this right now? Just go to their side. Don’t try and explain why you are there; just go – be – sit — and listen. You do not have to have the answers, just the presence. If you let God use you – you can be a powerful help for someone. Who knows, maybe one day
they will return the favor — when you need it most.
Have a great week, and look out for chances to offer glimpses of your faith!