As Christians, as human beings, we want to help those who suffer. We want to see healing in our world. We want to bring peace to those who are distressed and anxious.
You might think you need to be a doctor to do this. Or a life coach. Or that you need to develop trust with someone over many years before you can help them.
But here is how a friend of mine helped someone, a complete stranger, in a very simple way.
My friend’s name is Amber – although that’s not her real name. And Amber is a bookkeeper – again, not her real profession, but that doesn’t matter. And I’ve changed the names of the other person in the story.
But everything else is true.
So my friend Amber is at a networking meeting in Chiswick and she gets chatting to someone about her business. And the person says that she knows someone, a woman called Sarah, who really needs help with bookkeeping.
Contact details are exchanged and a week or so later Amber meets up for coffee with this Sarah - to talk about bookkeeping.
They have coffee in a café and it soon becomes clear to Amber that Sarah does not just have problems with bookkeeping. She has many other problems. She keeps taking calls from her teenage daughter with whom she is having serious difficulties; she speaks of caring issues for her mother and many other things. She seems overwhelmed and anxious.
And after the meeting she goes away thinking more about Sarah’s anxiety than about her potential need for bookkeeping services.
As Amber makes her way home, she hears God say to her, ‘This is the one.’
‘What?’ she says. ‘What do you mean?’
And God says, ‘This is the one. This is the one I want you to invite to Church.’
Amber has only been going regularly to Church a short time, maybe a year or two. And she resists God’s suggestion.
‘Surely not?’ she says. ‘I mean, I have lots of friends – I could easily invite someone I’ve known for a long time.’
But God reminds Amber that Church is a place for the sick, for those who are suffering. It’s a place to find healing and peace. Which is exactly what this woman, Sarah, wants and needs.
So, when Amber gets home, she picks up the phone and says, ‘Sarah, I’ve been thinking. I think that you need peace in your life. And I think I know where you can find that.’
Sarah says yes, she does need peace in her life.
So Amber tells Sarah to come to the next Sunday service and she gives her the details. She says that she herself has found peace in the Church.
The next Sunday arrives and Amber receives a text. It’s from Sarah. She says, Sorry. I went to bed very late last night. Got up late and won’t be able tomake it in time for Church.
Amber checks the time. It’s 10am. She replies, Service starts at 11. It’s only 10 now. You have plenty of time!
There’s no reply.
So Amber sets off to Church not expecting to see Sarah there.
But she is!
And Amber tells me there was an incredible surge in her heart when she saw Sarah in the Church. Not because she’d been successful in her invitation. But because she knew Sarah was in a place where she knew she might find peace and hope and love.
Sarah became part of our Church family that day. And receiving love and support from God and the community is bringing her healing and new life.
If Amber can make a difference in this very simple and straightforward way, maybe the rest of us can too?
Maybe we all can be healers.