He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
Yesterday was the Super Bowl and as a New England girl, my family and I woke up happy this morning! I am not a football fan by any means but I do enjoy the Super Bowl and I enjoy it more because my boys love football, so for them, I suffer through! Someone else who loved football and the Patriots was my grandfather. He and my grandmother would watch the games together and she tells me stories of how she would sit as close to him as possible so he could explain the game to her. As I was preparing food for the Super Bowl party we were having I got to thinking of my grandmother and how she'd likely be watching the game alone so I called her. During our conversation she told me a story and it touched me.
My grandparents always went to church together but since my grandfather's passing my grandmother has found it difficult to go to church alone. Yesterday was the first Sunday she went to church alone, and she sat alone, in the pew she and my grandfather always sat in. There is a lady, (she calls her a young girl, haha, but the lady is in her 60's), who has always sat behind them, alone also because her friend is hard of hearing and sits in a special room where she can hear better. My grandmother said she has always been fond of this girl and they talk at church on Sunday's when they see each other. This past Sunday, the lady had to sit in front of Memere because someone was sitting in her usual spot. At one point the lady turned and said hello to my grandmother. They began talking and Memere said that as she was leaving she turned to the lady and simply said, "Next week, you'll sit with me, ok?" The lady indicated that she would and Memere went home.
I don't know who this lady is and I am sure she has no idea what that simple indication meant for my grandmother. For my grandmother it means that maybe next week sitting through the church service might not be so difficult, because she will have a friend sitting with her. Then it got me thinking of all the widows and widowers we have in our church. We have an aging congregation and we have lost many of our senior saints over the years, which means we have several who sit alone. Our children are social beings who just love people and they have become very close and attached to several in our church. Every Sunday they ask us if they can sit with a certain person and most of the time, I say yes. The reason is that for my boys, the ones they are asking to sit with are men who have lost their wives or their wife is too ill to attend most services so they are alone. At first I felt bad because I didn't want my children to be a burden. Then one service, one of the gentlemen came up to me and thanked me for allowing my son to sit with him and said it touched him so much that my child would want to sit with him so he wouldn't be alone....because when this gentlemen asked my son why he always chose to sit with him my son answered, "because you're alone and I don't want you to be lonely".
I think sometimes we overlook the simple ministries our children can have in their church, in their neighborhood and in their community. Because we have allowed our children to sit with these different people, our children are so much more comfortable talking and holding conversations with people in our church and our community. They get to build relationships with people who are full of wisdom and who share their past with our kids. My boys love hearing stories about who these men were when they were younger and they are eager to share it with us on the car ride home. One of the gentlemen so enjoys helping one of my younger ones find the right page in the song book or the right place in their Bible. Not only are they not sitting alone but they get to feel as though they have a purpose and a ministry to our family.
I could be more selfish with my family and insist that we all sit together in church so that people can see us all together but you know, I much prefer allowing my kids to minister to those who find themselves sitting alone at church and giving them the opportunity to build relationships with them. That blesses me as a parent, it blesses my kids and it blesses those around us. I am thankful for promises in God's Word like we find in Psalm where it says that "He heals the broken in heart..." because there is comfort in knowing that God cares about our pain and our sadness and our loneliness and He provides for those needs. God has provided for my grandmother's need of not sitting alone in church by give my grandmother the courage to ask this lady to sit with her and for giving the lady compassion enough to say she would! God is so good and he is always working on taking care of our needs, long before we even realize we will have that need.
Sometimes we need to stop running long enough to see if God might be asking us to be the means by which He will heal the brokenhearted, those whose spirits are low or those who find themselves anxious or depressed. There are people all around us who have needs. Are we willing to leave the comfort of our little bubble in order to show God's love to other's by sitting with someone who is alone? It could be at church, at a kids concert at school, at a conference, at a restaurant...people are alone and lonely everywhere; we just need to care enough to see them.