Most people are much more open to giving care than to receiving it. When a person is giving care, he or she is in a position of strength, stability, and authority. When a person is receiving care, he or she is acknowledging weakness, insecurity, and vulnerability.
As a result, there are countless people today who, though they really could benefit from a Christian friend who would listen and care for them, instead tough it out on their own. They remain the strong silent type, or wear a smile across a face that is holding back a flood or tears. Society encourages this (particularly for men). To ask for help is to admit weakness. To show weakness is to admit inferiority.
But God did not create us to be independent. We were created to be interdependent. God’s Word is clear on this all the way back to Genesis: ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’ (Gen. 2:18). The New Testament underscores this theme with more than 50 verses that contain the words ‘one another.’ These verses include admonitions such as ‘love one another,’ ‘encourage one another,’ ‘build up one another,’ and ‘pray for one another.’
What these verses don’t say is that we alone are to love, encourage, build up, and pray for other people. The ‘one another’ wording gives them a reciprocal meaning. It also tells us that we are to allow other people to love, encourage, build up, and pray for us!
It is most difficult for people to ask for help. Whether it is because of guilt, shame, inadequacy, or fear of rejection, many would much prefer to suffer alone than ask for help.
But suffering alone is not God’s intent for us. Jesus promises, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’ (Matt. 11:28). We can receive this promise rest when we turn to one another for comfort and help.
Our Stephen Ministers know all about receiving care. Manu of them have been on the receiving end of care at an earlier point in their lives—something that has motivated them to give care now. They know how difficult it is to ask for help, but they also know the great personal and spiritual growth and healing that follow.
They know how to respond in a loving, caring, and nonjudgmental manner. They are equipped, ready, and waiting to provide the comfort and are God very much desires you to have.
If you find yourself now or in the future facing difficulties in life, don’t succumb to society’s norm of remaining strong and suffering alone. Take the courageous step of seeking help. Open your heart to receiving God’s love and grace through another person. Our Stephen Ministry offers the opportunity for a very confidential relationship with someone who will listen to you and provide you with the care and encouragement you need, while Christ works inside to bring rest to your weary, burdened heart.
For more information on Stephen Ministry, please contact Pastor Steve, Trish Tangman or Laberta Otte.