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Listening Lovingly

Today’s Reflection

AS A PASTOR, I learned the hard way that weeping people need a quiet friend, a person who will simply stand by and listen. One day I was called to the hospital. A middle-aged woman in our church had died suddenly and unexpectedly. Her husband was in the hospital room, angry, upset, weeping.

“How could this have happened? She was getting better. I was preparing to take her home!”

I put my arm on his shoulder and listened. Then we sat down, and between sobs, he told me what a wonderful wife she was. I just sat and listened as he recalled the years of their lives together. It lasted a couple of hours.

Later, at the funeral, the man seemed calm. Soon he became a faithful leader in the church. Then he thrilled my pastoral heart when, one day, he said to me, “You were a great help to me when she passed away. Thank you for listening.”

Thank God for loving friends who simply, lovingly, stand by and listen. That helps us move through grief, through the “valley of the sahdow.” Thank the Lord for listening lovingly.

– Richard B. Wilke
Disciplines 2012

From the reading for February 7, 2012 by Richard B. Wilke in The Upper Room Disciplines 2012: A Book of Daily Devotions. Copyright © 2011 by Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

When has someone been a comfort to you by listening? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
Mark 1:34, NRSV

This Week: Pray for those suffering from natural disasters. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Brigid of Ireland (February 1).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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{ 13 comments… add one }

  • robert moeller February 4, 2018, 6:40 am

    Very thankfully in prayer this morning I fell asleep and awoke to read today’s reflection. Have a counselor who listens very well. The UR family “listens” to email posts and prays! There is great sustenance when people listen. Thank You, Lord.

    Church, choir practice and singing, communion, annual conference, and pizza lunch today. Very helpful, uplifting, spirit, body, and mind nourishing activities. So glad to be able to go.

    Prayers for all of the UR family.You are lifted up by name in my prayers. The Lord knows of your needs, concerns and is with you always. Thanks be to God.

    Have a blessed Sunday with the Lord.

  • Betsy February 4, 2018, 7:37 am

    The gift of just being present and listening. I’ve experience many blessed ministers who have possessed this gift. Sometimes words are no needed , only your presence. Thanks for all who visit here to “listen”to others in support and empathy.

  • Andrea February 4, 2018, 8:13 am

    My therapist, my two close friends, my husband – all listen. I do not have pets now, but pets are wonderful listeners. God listens with complete love and acceptance.

    I am thankful for a lovely luminary walk with my husband last night on a city lake. It was cold but we were bundled up and we drank the free hot chocolate dispensed from the north and south ends of the lake. It snowed most of the day and it is a winter wonderland here.

    Prayers for Robert, Betsy, Jill, Mary, Marcy, Julie, Connie, Lou, Louise, April, Francesca, Chloe, and all whose names I have missed, as well as those who visit to simply read. Prayers for the parents, spouses, children, and friends whom you name in your prayers. Prayers for those suffering in natural disasters.

    Psalm 147:1 How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is GRACIOUS, and a song of praise is fitting.

    Blessings.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling February 4, 2018, 1:06 pm

      Thanks so much Andrea!

      My younger sister is a comfort me by listening and also the UR friends here.

      Thank you God for people you have placed in our lives who are great listeners and a comfort to us especially my sister and the UR friends here,

      Blessigs

    • Marcy February 4, 2018, 6:42 pm

      Andrea, I love when you describe your outdoor walks with your husband. It makes me feel like all’s right with the world, as you appreciate the serenity and beauty of God’s winter wonderland!

      I am thankful and grateful for your prayers as God supplies me strength through prayers. I’m in troubled waters, but retain my faith, hope and love. I keep you and your family in my prayers. Many blessings to you, Andrea!

  • Sally Friedli February 4, 2018, 8:25 am

    My friend, J, who stood by my side for 2 years after my son passed away.

    • Marcy February 4, 2018, 7:16 pm

      Sally, praising God you have such a good friend. Praying for you and your family.

  • Connie February 4, 2018, 8:32 am

    I have a dear friend that I have known for many years. I listen to her and she listens to me. I pray for her and she prays for me. I used to see her often but that, like so many things in my life changed, but we do talk on the phone and text (not the same). I have many here also and for that I thank God. Blessings to all on this Snowy Sunday.

  • April February 4, 2018, 9:58 am

    I echo the previous posts when I ask: Who might this be? Yes, my UR family!! I post, everyone listens, some respond by posting and some pray silently. I am helped, not because I can do it alone, but because I have accepted the help of others, a gift from you all by being the ears of God to listen. It bring me JOY!!
    In the same light, when others post, I can listen and pray for them. And another thing happens to me: I receive a new “view” of situations and choices to try as I deal with issues in life. The one solution I read over and over here is: Trust in the Lord, lean into the Lord….
    Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
    His understanding is infinite. Psalm 147:5

  • Marcy February 4, 2018, 7:13 pm

    I have beautiful, loving, accepting, UR siblings, friends and family and you have been lifesavers. You have helped me connect and grow even closer to God, the Father, Jesus Christ, our Savior and the Holy Spirit. You listen to worries, hurts, fears and help me back to the Word of God to overcome them. I am so thankful to you all, I don’t know where I would be today without you. God bless each and every one if you!

    My Pastors have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Where their “normal” help would have been listening, they also have ran themselves ragged, trying to fill the space of friends and family. Every now and then, I wonder if I’m going to join my friends sooner rather later, but then that Hope kicks in from God, and I’m off! I am so thankful and grateful to my Pastors. I praise God for these two exceptionally spiritual servants of His.

    My cell phone servuce has been on someone else’s family anf friends account. I have been paying way more than I would if I had my own cell phone account. The reason was because I didn’t want my husband’s family to find me and the phone doesn’t even show my name when I call someone. Well, they have decided to revoke the data usage. I’ve been paying so much money to them, I’m embarrassed to tell you here, let’s just say over $100 a month. So if you don’t hear from me, that’s why. I am going to try to go out Tuesday, with my Pastor, and get my own account. I’m not sure I’ll be able to do so. We’re expecting more snow here in Illinois Monday night into the early hours of Tuesday and I still have issues walking on dry ground. Also have a drs appointment Friday. Please pray I’ll be able to keep internet, and get out and back home Tuesday and Friday. Thank you, so much. I don’t want to go back to the isolation I experienced before coming here.

    Robert, Betsy, Andrea, Mary, Sally, Connie, April, Julie, Jill, Lou and all the other members of this UR family, I continue to lift you up in prayer each and every morning. I pray for your family members. And I praise the Lord that we all have people to talk to, who listen to us with empathy and God’s gracious patience and love. Thank you, Father, for putting these people in our lives!

    And these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love, and the greatest of these is LOVE!

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling February 4, 2018, 10:52 pm

      Thanks so much dear Marcy.

      Ultimately, God is the greatest listener.

      Thank you God that you never stop listening to us.

      Blessings to all. Have a great week ahead

  • Marcy February 4, 2018, 7:19 pm

    Although the question was about people, I’m praising God that the Good Shepherd never stopped searching for me until He found me and returned me to the fold. Jesus, I will always love You and trust in You!

  • robert moeller February 5, 2018, 4:42 am

    Thankful for the posts about luminary walks around a lake on a cold winter evening, free hot chocolate, cell phone help on the way, marvelous help from pastors, the wonderful listeners UR members have, Psalm 147:5 and Psalm 147:1, and the positive effect of listening. Thank you Betsy, Marcy, Connie, Mary, Sally, April, and Andrea.

    A very helpful day at church with new music to sing this year in the choir, communion, a special fellowship time with pizza and nice desserts as we reviewed the church year just past. Thankful for a wonderful meal prepared by my son, the ability to purchase items we needed, three different trains running on the Landecker layout, and an interesting variety of tv programs from sports to drama. Hopeful that the Life Alert Anneliese has coming will do what it should and help her be safe. Prayers that the handyman can and will do the work needed at a reasonable price. Thankful for peace and quiet upstairs. Prayers for help with the continuing palpitations.

    Anneliese’s name, pronounced Anna liza, is a German spelling.

    Thank you all for your prayers for her, Erich, and me. I am delighted to be able to pray for all of you. There is great power in prayer. We are talking to God. Thank You, Lord.

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