Sitting with a person in all these...
Facing the helplessness within my own self, the loss for words most of the time, the compassion and empathy that stirs my heart so deeply...
What can I offer?
What do I have that I may offer?
Nothing I can give to erase the errors of the past, to dissolve the cutting pain, to gather the broken pieces. Nothing I can give that is possibly worth receiving... nothing... until Christ enters my giving.
When He enters, He enters through my history, my many failures and learnings, pains and healings, my countless experiences of struggling, of not knowing, of fumbling, of messing up, of being lost and groping in the dark. And only with these do I truly have something worth giving - the very gift of myself, of my life - not an empty, shattered, worthless shell but a life that God has entered into to bring His presence, goodness and resurrection, breathing life into what was dead.
All of which leads me to ask again, "What can I offer?"
What am I offering the other each time I minister? What am I truly giving if not the precious gift of God Himself?
I am giving the God who has been in my life, labouring tirelessly in all my good and bad. I am giving God in the person He has made me to be.
And because it is Him I am giving, it makes the giving worth giving. And because it is Him the other is receiving, it makes the receiving worth receiving.
And it makes sitting with a fellow pilgrim, on this our journey to the eternal Jerusalem, in all her pain and troubles, one of the most life-giving experiences I can ever have.