Some have asked me what it is like to minister to suffering people. First it is an honor and privledge to minister to people who are hurting. It is a gift of grace because in those situations words are not enough, there is never the right thing to say because people are not a problem to be solved. Instead a minister comes along side and tries to enter into the place of suffering as best as one can.
In these instances the only effective ministry is a compassionate presence, it is to hold the person in love and seek to be a tangible sign of the love of God in Christ Jesus. This is why it is about grace, a person cannot simply be a compassionate presence without grace operating in and through the minister.
Also it is a place of pain to be helpless and to grieve the relative powerlessness one has and it is hard to watch someone suffer. It is also a place of joy because suffering is the home of God. God is present in all places an all times. So the minister must hold all this together in one place: suffering, powerless, joy and hope.
It sounds a lot like the Eucharist. "On the night he was betrayed"...Pain "My body broken"...Suffering "My blood shed for you"...Death "Peace by with you" says the Resurrected One.. Joy and Hope.