“We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” 2 Corinthians 1:8 NLT-- http://bible.com/116/2co.1.8.nlt
I've been a Christian now for over 40 years but you don't have to be a Christian for any real length of time to run into someone who loves to tell you all their woes in life. I could stereotype by saying they are mostly elderly, but that's not true. I have some students who remind me of the HeeHaw song "Gloom Despair and agony on me" (google it!) I will guarantee you can relate that coworker, family member or friend, that just like to grumble about everything. In reality these special people have a real place in my heart for several reasons.
When confronted with the person who "lives under a storm cloud" I often realize how blessed I am and how there is no reason, except by the grace of God, that the roles are not reversed. I am also prompted to pray. I strongly believe in the power of prayer and these opportunities to intervene with prayer are special. I need to stop immediately and pray for them, even though I don't always take advantage of that role. I sense that I need to listEn to these prompting more. Lastly, listening to someone explain there life's troubles is a way we can serve. Many people just need someone to listen. I should find it a privilege to be chosen as the listener.
God sends us these people. They are a real part of our ministry. To avoid or brush off these rather difficult people is a shirking of our Christian duty and ignoring the prompting of The Holy Spirit.
Dear Lord, forgive me for being in a rush and unwilling to listen to all who find me. Send them to me Lord, give me your heart of compassion and service even if the only need is an ear to listen. Amen!