After the preacher’s sermon, Mrs. Bowen came forward asking for prayers. She was very anxious because her husband, George, was shipping out to sea with the United States Navy. Not only was the separation emotionally draining, but she worried about George’s safety in uncharted waters. When she walked down the aisle, she handed her note to the preacher. The note read, “George Bowen’s wife requests prayers for her husband’s safety who has gone to sea.” The preacher, pretending to listen and care, picked up the card and read to the congregation, “George Bowen, having gone to see his wife, desires prayers for his safety." Needless to say, Mrs. Bowen wasn’t too “comforted”.
We all fall victim to this atrocity, regardless of our profession. Scripture says we should have courage to confess to others, passion to pray for others, and compassion to carry the burdens of others. In our individualistic society, encouraging people to become venerable and transparent is quite a challenge. When we finally do “open up”, there’s nothing worse than discovering our painful testimony is going through one ear, and out the other.
Life is full of challenges, and we need the body of Christ to help us endure them. When we listen to a brother struggling from the storms of life, the least we can do is offer our undivided attention. His heart is aching; shame on us if we make it ache more with our meaningless distractions. If you care enough to love, care enough to listen.