“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15, ESV)
In over twenty years as a pastor, there are some things that you never get used to. Yesterday, I visited in the home of a member of our church who is dying of cancer. With his wife on one side of the hospital bed and me on the other, the three of us prayed together and wept together. This particular couple have been dear friends of ours during our years in Huntsville. I cried when I was them, and I cried when I got into my car. I cried as I drove back to my office. Even though they are strong believers, the sadness is profound.
Today, I conducted the funeral of another member of our church. She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, church member, neighbor, and friend. Typically the funeral director gathers the family together a few minutes before the service starts so that the family can have a final private viewing. Many times, these are the most emotional moments for families. Today was no different. During this time before the funeral, we wept together and prayed together.
In addition, there are the ministry situations that I cannot share on this blog. These are the heartbreaking situations that lead people to talk with a pastor. The pain is just as real, even though no death is involved. I pray with everyone who comes to see me. Sometimes I cry with the person as I pray with them. I’ve had a few of those situations as well recently.
When I first started out in ministry, I used to think that it was a necessity to have something profound to say in these situations. No more. The truth is that oftentimes weeping with those that weep means more than anything.