Reading scripture... praying... going through notes... picking up my booklet and reading a little... taking a sip of coffee... the booklet I'm reading is a handout that you might get at a crisis center. It brings a person through the grief process and lists verses that might be helpful. I've been reading it for a month or so on and off. In a way it is very heavy because it deals with heavy subject matters but the verses quoted are amazing even if at times they quote a verse out of context or repeat verses again because they fall under several categories.
I think sometimes, 'These people who wrote this booklet are trying to help but would this be helpful to me if I was in a true crisis?'
I need eternal perspective for a crisis and I think other people do also. Otherwise our world becomes small and our thinking becomes shallow.
"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus," - Philippians 2:1-5 ESV
I sit thinking of the times when we have oil and stand at the front of the chapel as someone is praying from the pulpit. People who have needs come forward to be prayed for. Some look sick or like they might have a physical need but others don't. Those are special times.
"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." - James 5:13-16 ESV
What are these sins we are confessing one to another? The Greek word there is Hamartia (Strong's G266) and it means to miss the mark. When people miss the mark they need prayer. People miss the mark with their actions and thinking in a similar way as our bodies seem to miss the mark when we are sick.
I know I have sat in the crowd during a healing service and decided midway through to go up because seeing people living in such humility motivated me to humble myself and ask God in a public way for the help I needed.
A few times people asked me to pray for them but I was hesitant to do it. In a room full of believing people I felt I wasn't believing like a person should be if they were going to put oil on a person's head and pray. Those moments have been moments of repentance on my part. I couldn't say 'no' to a person looking at me that way. I had to 'let Christ's mind be in me' and found God touching both of us at the same time. I found words coming out of my mouth and tears streaming from my eyes as I lifted up this humble person's need that did not come from an carnal man's mouth.
The prayer of faith that originates from a mind grounded in truth is a powerful prayer. It isn't asking amiss. The voice that has been baptized in the mind of Christ has influence because the One it represents is powerful and invested in the present situation.
Maybe this booklet that lists verses and asks questions related to grief is helpful to some people. I hope so. I'd rather spend a little time with someone who knows something. I'd rather walk down the aisle and have a frail man who has the mind of Christ anoint me with oil. I'd rather listen to a message that touches my heart and teaches me that my identity is not based on how I miss the the mark but instead it is based on the work of Jesus Christ and His spotless life.
God... Help us today... So many people struggle during this time of year... so many need a different way to think and a touch from Heaven. Use us God. By sight it doesn't look like we have much to give but just like the man standing there with oil in his hand we can give out the words of hope that You have given us. Fill our lantern with oil so that in the crisis we have light. Thank You God. Thank You for healing all our infirmities. Thank You for loving us.