I was under the weather this weekend, while visiting family in southern Indiana. Thankfully, my in-laws were gracious and allowed me to just lay around and rest. We went to their church Sunday and like any other congregation in the country, people come up to you, shake your hand, and ask ‘How are you?”
This question, in public circumstances, always gets me. Do I be honest with them and share how I really am? (for better or for worse?)
If I’m not feeling well, would they judge me as ‘needy’ and ‘weak’ because I am going through a difficult day or period of life? Do they really want to know how I am doing?
In those instances, I try and answer honestly, but with a veil. This Sunday, I found myself saying “I’m alright.” It was a clear statement that I wasn’t great and if someone wanted to dive deeper into investigating how I really was, then I was open to it. That’s a good way to find out who you can share openly with.
I also greet at our church, Lima Community, once a month. You can quickly tell how folks are doing, and how their morning is going, as they approach the door. I’ve always wondered, what would happen if people answered honestly when I said, ‘Good morning!’ and genuinely ask them, “How are you?”
What if I heard responses like:
“I had a fight with my wife and that’s why she’s not here.”
“I’m addicted to pornography and feel like I can’t get out of this pit it leaves me in.”
“I’m dying of cancer.”
“I just feel….so….alone.”
We all have had feelings like this on Sunday mornings, or any mornings.
God has good news for us. He is with us! When the woman at the well was gathering water by herself at the end of the day, Jesus was there. When the woman caught in adultery was thrown down in the middle of town square, completely exposed, Jesus knelt down so that she knew she wasn’t alone. He stayed when everyone else dropped their stones and backed away. He stayed to let her know she was not alone in this battle and that she could, ‘Go and sin no more,” with His help.
David knew how close God was. In Psalm 23:4 he writes, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
What would our lives look like if we would ‘fear no evil’ because we know the Creator of the universe was with us? When we become followers of Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes into our lives and is always there to guide us and comfort us.
So what do we do when those feelings overwhelm us?
1. We reach up. (God is waiting for us to turn to Him to overcome the things in this world.)
2. We reach out. (We need community! We share with someone (who loves God) that we are hurting and need help.)
So the next time I, or someone who genuinely cares about you, asks the simple question, “How are you?, be courageous and honest. It will do you, and that person a world of good.