The Power of the Presence  

The Power of Presence

Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” – Proverbs 25:20

Have you been there? Have you found yourself struggling for the right thing to say, eloquent words of comfort for that hurting sole who is standing in front of you with the silent pleading heart? You want to say something to comfort and then it comes out, the wrong words … “I know how you feel.”  

In his book, “Don’t Sing Songs To A Heavy Heart,” Kenneth C Haugk writes about the Power of Presence … yes, your presence, but more than that, who is present in you as you stand in the threshold of some hurting sole’s heart.  He says, “ Who you are is forever interwoven with what you do” … or what capacity within which you act. You are a tool that God has prepared. He goes on to say, “As a caregiver(or as one who has crossed that threshold of the heart),  you bring with you two most high and holy gifts to the one who is hurting.  The correct question about these gifts is not, What are they? Rather, it is, Who are they?  The answer is basic: You bring Jesus, and you bring yourself. That means Jesus incarnates Himself in you, and when you bring yourself, you bring a complete package, your feelings, your wounds, and your presence – which gains its power because Jesus is in you.”

It’s about the presence of Jesus. Over and over, research respondents reported presence alone as a powerful caring force. A woman who was 25 when her mother died said, “I don’t remember anything they said, only their presence and prayers.” Another said, “When people came and were just present for me, they were a gift. I felt love, compassion, and acceptance of the fact that I preferred silence over small talk. I was able to be lost in my own thoughts, yet not alone. They helped make a sad time a little more bearable.”

This woman was describing the human presence of the one caring and relating. That’s incarnation. Even when you don’t mention the name of Jesus, He is still there in you, reaching out.  Another person said, “Their being with me helped me to remember that I’m never really alone, because God is always with me. A human presence makes God seem very near instead of far away.”

Folks, “when you don’t know what to say, try saying … nothing. Just let your quiet presence be the powerful witness to your love, that is, the love of Jesus in you. Henri J. M. Nouwen, author of The Wounded Healer, says it beautifully, “If there is any posture that disturbs a suffering man or woman, it is aloofness. The tragedy of Christian ministry is that many who are in great need, many who seek an attentive ear, a word of support, a forgiving embrace, a firm hand, a tender smile, or even a stuttering confession of inability to do more, often find their ministers distant men who do not want to burn their fingers.”

Your presence is worth much, much more than words. Your presence communicates to the other that he or she is valued, precious, beloved. Your presence brings not only the gift of yourself into the relationship but also, in and through you, the gift of God – Your Jesus.  And that dear friends, is indeed … powerful.

God’s peace always, ptl                   

Paraphrased from “Don’t Sing Songs To A Heavy Heart”        by Kenneth C. Haugk, PHD

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