I have not posted to this blog for several months other than place weekly links for sermons and texts of those sermons. Our family has been going through a change as God has moved us to north central Oregon to serve Him in two churches in Sherman County. It is a wonderful part of the state with a genuine and hard working people who put in the hard work of growing wheat and cattle. One of the perks of the new role is the privilege of contributing twice a month to a Friday Spiritual Matters corner of the local eNews. In this post and the next several I will re-post the first of those articles.
“How are you doing?” This a common but potentially awkward question. Much of the time we expect a casual non-committal response such as “good,” or “Okay” which we acknowledge in some equally casual way and move on. Even when someone throws this process for a loop and responds negatively we have our favorite responses such as “hang in there,” “I hope it gets better” or even, “I’ll pray for you.”
But it doesn’t take much to break this cycle and open the door to richer and more meaningful interactions. Following their response with a simple “Oh” provides an invitation for the other person to go deeper and share more. Saying “Oh” communicates that I’ve got a few minutes to hear and to care and not rush on down the road. Rather than fearing the “Oh no, what have I done now,” “oh” said at the right time can in a non-threatening way prove a huge blessing as you take advantage of an opportunity to enter into the life of someone else, to encourage, possibly help and even bring them in prayer before God who knows them far more than we could ever imagine (Psalm 139). “Oh” is an opportunity to extend the compassion to others that God has shown to us.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3–4, ESV)
Try allowing some extra time for an “Oh” encounter, and maybe even extend it to “Oh, what can I do?”