The earthquake in Haiti is a tragedy. When I look at the photos and read the stories I sometimes I find it hard to connect with what is going on there. I thought this on Wednesday. On Thursday, I had my own personal connection with the hardships of life. I am one of the on-call pastors on Thursdays, and a single mom walked in asking to speak with a pastor. I sat down with her and listened. (I won’t reveal the details.) She started attending Christ Community Church about six months ago. The hardships and heartbreaks many single parents endure she was going through. She’s trying to fight the good fight and be a better mom and person, but there are things that seem to keep her down. Some of it her own doing, but some of it is just being on the receiving end of evil.
At one point she asked me, “Did God author all of this to happen to me?” Wow. There’s a loaded question. Respected theologians would disagree on how to answer that question. I told her something I heard from Dan Allender when I attended the Story Workshop at Mars Hill Graduate School. I said, “I don’t know if God authored it, but I do know that God can author the redemption of it.” That connected with her, the idea that no matter what had occurred in her life it could be redeemed and restored for good.
At one point in the conversation, I had our receptionist get Lisa Brown to come out to the Atrium and join us. Lisa is the Director of Women’s Ministries and is helping to start a Single Mom’s Group at CCC on Sunday mornings. Lisa came out and was wonderful in her counsel to this single mom.
We talked a bit more, and then we prayed with her. When Lisa and I got done praying, she prayed a wonderfully sweet prayer. Asking God’s forgiveness for past sins, continuing to state her trust in Him, wanting to be a better mom and individual, and being open to His leading. This single mom is going to get connected more at CCC, through the Single Mom’s Group, and that’s great.
I spent about an hour with her, and then I was off to a hospital to visit someone who was in declining health due to cancer. Jack Arant came along with me since he knew the individual and their family. When we arrived, the individual was asleep. However, their wife was there and we listened to her for awhile. It’s tough. What do you say when someone’s spouse is dying and they are telling you through tears they are wanting to have faith that all will be well? It meant a lot to her that Jack and I would sit with her and listen.
We left the hospital, and I was drained from the afternoon. I may not have been able to connect with the tragedy and devastation in Haiti, but two conversations with people on Thursday afternoon had me connected with evil, darkness and death. It was sobering. It was awe inducing. I was grateful I could be used to help minister to these people in their darkest hours. It was also a timely reminder that while there are horrific tragedies like the Haiti earthquake, there are always people around us dealing with tragedy right now.