By Tim Wesemann
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)
One of the big challenges for many men’s groups during these days of the, well, you know. Maybe it will help if I use only a few letters and you can fill in the blanks. Pan_ _ _ ic. Oops, that makes it worse! Pandemic. Instead, I turned it into Panic.
I don’t know that many of us are outwardly in a state of panic, but I have no doubt there’s plenty of internalized panic. A lot of men don’t want others to see or hear about the panic building inside them.
The last month and a half of most years are filled with days of thanksgiving, anticipating Christ’s birth, celebrating the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. And most years end by reflecting on the memories of the past 365 days while readying to ring in a new year—a new beginning. But this is the end of 2020, which is very different.
Generally, more men than women internalize the stress, fears, and anxieties that can come with the final days of the year. And often it shows in increased anger, depression, hopelessness, and additional strain on relationships. Many struggle with unemployment, holiday bills, end-of-the-year taxes, deadlines, tension in relationships at year-end, and now we have increased health concerns. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of signs that the world will improve as we head into 2021. But Christ is always present and working, so how can your men’s ministry help?
I should finish my opening thought. It’s a challenge but vitally important for men to stay connected, especially with the end of the year in sight. We need to know there are others who care about our situations and will encourage and pray for physical, mental, and spiritual needs.
It’s not necessary to get into intense discussions. If they take place, great. But a simple caring connection point can go a long way in helping someone get through a day.
Consider a short text, private social-media conversation, email, or voice message, such as these:
- God brought you to mind, and I prayed for you today.
- I really appreciate your friendship.
- Doing okay? If so, great! If not, let me know if I can help.
- This Bible verse helped me get through the week . . .
- I was just thinking about the time we . . . That was a blast!
- I’m struggling. I could use prayers. Let me know yours.
Keep connected! It doesn’t take much time or effort. Calm the panic by closing out of a year with Christ-centered hope, encouragement, and brotherly love. God’s peace through Jesus be yours!
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Editor’s note: Keep connected! It doesn't take much time or effort. Calm the panic by closing out of a year with Christ-centered hope, encouragement, and brotherly love. God's peace through Jesus be yours!