When I became an associate pastor in 1998, one of the most helpful things my senior pastor did for me was teach me how to make a hospital call. What he was REALLY doing was showing me how to represent Christ to persons in distress.
You have similar opportunities. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a medical issue, or take place in a hospital room. Instead, it may be a co-worker who just received some bad news. Or, a neighbor who is feeling overwhelmed by life.
I encourage you to study Luke 7:11-17 and notice what Jesus did when he came upon a person in distress. In His case, it was a widow who had just lost her only son.
As you study the passage, you’ll notice Jesus did three things: He felt, He spoke, and He touched.
Verse 13 says that Jesus’ “heart went out to [the woman].” This means that He felt her pain. In the original language of the Bible, Luke used a word that means He had a strong visible reaction when He saw the woman’s grief.
They don’t necessarily teach this in seminary, but I try to feel another person’s pain by recalling my own pain. I’ll also pray ahead of time and ask the Lord to help me empathize with the person I’m about to interact with.
Next, Jesus spoke to the woman. All He said was “don’t cry.” I think the lesson here is that we shouldn’t talk too much. Let the other person talk if he/she wants to. Or, let there be silence.
Finally, Jesus touched. Specifically, it says He touched the coffin, which He wasn’t supposed to do. Obviously, He didn’t care about convention at that moment.
An appropriate touch can be very comforting to someone in distress because they tend to feel alone (isolated) in their circumstance. You don’t want to smother them, of course, but a sideways hug or hand on their shoulder often means a lot.
The most important thing is that you make yourself available to God in whatever the situation. Remember, we are His hands & feet. Also, His ears & mouth.