“Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
I don't know who it was in our Men's Ministry who coined the phrase years ago, “Don’t Fix Me, Just Hold Me” which meant to the other guys in the group, "I don’t need your advice, I just need your friendship. I just want to know that you care.” This saying has proved itself over and over again to be a great way to be a better friend to one another. And the good news is, it works in all relationships, not just between men.
Hearing those words, "Don't Fix Me Just Hold Me" are refreshing for the simple fact that often times in life we are fully aware of what we are struggling through as God is working in our lives or as we have just experienced a hardship or loss and what we need most from those close to us is their loving support. Just knowing they are there for us speaks volumes. In the book of Job, when his three friends first heard the news of his tremendous loss, they didn’t try to fix him, no, they just came to him and sat by his side for days on end without speaking a single word. They cried with him and mourned his loss with him, but they didn’t try to fix the situation by offering sage advice. That story provides for each of us an important lesson on how to be a better friend.
Availability is sometimes the single greatest gift we can offer others, especially in their time of need. Think about it, loved one, what keeps any of us from helping others? Isn't it our busyness that hinders us from getting involved? I remember a pastor friend telling me one time that if people wanted his counsel they could set up an appointment with him during his office hours placing the burden on them if they wanted his care. He told me that since people would take off time from work to go to the doctor he saw no reason not to make them schedule an appointment between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. if they really wanted his help. I remember thinking at the time, is that what Jesus would do? I shared with him that I thought we might need to reconsider our thinking on that for the simple fact that, “since people can’t schedule all their pain, they can’t schedule all appointments conveniently between the hours of 8:30 and 4:30.” As friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ we should all seek to be available for each other in life understanding that in doing so we will enjoy some of the most divine appointments God has to offer us.
"Don't Fix Me, Just Hold Me" is a basic human cry of our heart that can be met when we choose to "be there" for others. We don't need to worry what to say, we don't need special training, all we need is a willingness in our heart to drop what we are doing, and to make ourselves available to others in their time of need. After all, that's what Jesus does for me and for you! Actually, Jesus does one better. When Jesus holds us, that makes it all better!
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”
Mike Osthimer is pastor of Calvary Chapel Westbrook in Bakersfield, California.
While travelling last week, on two separate occasions, I observed a turtle slowly creeping across a road. Both times the same thing happened. When the turtle saw my car approaching each quickly withdrew into his shell. These incidents were a parable of truth to me. What did I learn?
The first lesson, you have to give the turtles credit for venturing to cross the road. They saw something worth pursuing across the road. There is an old saying “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Am I venturing out and testing new terrain? We will never accomplish anything if we do not venture out.
A second lesson was somewhat humorous. Two turtles are strolling across the road. They realize danger is pressing in on them. They cannot run away so they withdraw to the security of their shell. Even though they felt secure in their shell, the truth is, the shell offered no security. Those turtles did not escape the danger. They escaped to the perceived security of the shell. However, the threat was still present. We may do the same thing. We withdraw when we perceive danger is present. We subconsciously convince ourselves that we have escaped the danger, only to emerge with the danger still present.
A third lesson grows out of the second. When we withdraw we are not solving the problem, we are merely avoiding it. When we come back it will still be there. Obviously a turtle cannot reason or negotiate when it finds itself in dangerous circumstances. However, God has given us the ability to communicate, speak truth, and discuss issues with other people. We must be careful that we are not retreating and merely hiding our problems. Such avoidance often leads to depression and hidden emotions.