When I woke up at 2:45 a.m. to find water pouring through my ceiling and an inch deep sheet of water covering most of our first floor due to a broken hot water heater in the attic, I thought to myself, “Bad stuff just happens sometimes.”
It wasn't a profound thought but, for some reason, it was a powerful reminder for me. Hardship often takes us by surprise. Part of ministry is walking through the “bad stuff” with people. In the big picture, my hot water heater issue was not a tragedy; however, it was a reminder that on this side of eternity we live in a fallen, unpredictable world where hurt and heartache are inevitable.
As church leaders, ministry leaders, and Christians, we are called to minister to others when they are dealing with pain and suffering. Some people naturally know what to do when tragedy strikes; others care deeply, but are at a loss at how to minister in the midst of that hurt.
Over the years, I have had the privilege to watch and learn from others who have gracefully and lovingly tended to others who have been hurt. Here are four considerations to help you take care of those close to you when faced with tragedy or hardship.