There are different approaches to pastoral care and I remember reading a book in seminary that advised us to keep a professional distance from our people, as if we could listen and pray without getting too connected.
That's never worked for me.
I proceeded to listen, share, laugh and mostly cry with my new friend for the next 35 minutes as her story spilled out. This is work I still can't believe I am allowed to do. But this time was a little different.
My new friend didn't have a connection to church or God. The questions woven into the story were simple and honest:
"What does prayer really do?"
"Where will my daughter go after she dies?"
"What do you do in worship on Sunday mornings?"
I got to look into the heart of a scared mom and say, "The church goes through life together. We support each other, cry together, and learn to love together. We change the world by living out the love shown to us by Jesus. We try to make things right."
She asked, "How do you know there's hope? That there's something else going on?"
I paused for a moment and then said, "It's a choice. And I see it everywhere."
Friends, someone in your life is facing a situation where hope doesn't seem possible. None of the answers are good. Nothing feels okay. Find a way to share the hope you have. And why your life is different because of who Jesus is. It doesn't have to be a big scary evangelism thing. We're not forcing anything on anybody. When asked, we simply share why we have hope. Let God do the rest.