What the Bible says about comforting those who suffer

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How to Comfort the Suffering:

#1: Empathize with the sufferer-
Romans 12:15 says “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”

#2: Pray for yourself-
James 1:5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

#3 Pray for others-
Phillippians 4:6 says “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

#4 Listen to the sufferer-
James 1:19 says “So then,[a] my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.

#5 Consider causes other than the sin of sufferer-
John 9:1-3 says “Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.”

These are the things I have found most helpful:

  • Mention the loved one if possible, tell a positive memory of the person who died
  • Bring meals, offer to clean the bereaved person’s house or watch the children so they can get a massage…etc.
  • Call regularly and ask your grieving friend how she/he is feeling, come over for visits and just sit with the person
  • Laughter is the BEST medicine! Make sure you time this appropriately though. Take your cues from your bereaved friend. If they are making jokes and starting to be silly or laugh, encourage that. After my son died, one of my good friends and I put our heads together and came up with an idea. We would change only one thing about our appearance and then go out in public and see the kind of reaction we got. For example, I made one long uni-brow across my forehead & she made the her lipstick go way around her lips. Everything else was normal except that one thing. It was hilarious to watch peoples reactions! My friend and I still laugh about it to this day. That laughter was very therapeutic.
  • Find out if there are any special items your bereaved friend is collecting in honor of her loved one. For example, we collect our son’s favorite animal (the giraffe), butterflies, Willowtree sculptures…etc. We also had a memory quilt made out of his clothing that we include in our family pictures every year-it is just beautiful and so very special.

What NOT to do:

#1 Pre-judge a situation

#2 Have a know-it-all attitude

#3 Try to solve the problem of the one suffering

#4 Assuming the cause of suffering is sin

What is NOT helpful:

  • Saying things like, “They are in a better place, at least you have other children, you should be over this by now, or any other insensitive phrase to brush away your own discomforts with the topic. When in doubt, don’t say anything.
    I have actually had all of these things said to me by different (well-meaning but ignorant) people and they really hurt and make the situation even more difficult.

Blessed Are the Ones Who Mourn

It was a hot summer day, July 26th, when a mother’s worst fear was realized. A four-month-pregnant mama walked into her living room and there on the couch was her almost four-year-old son. His body pale and lifeless, cold. She screamed and closed her eyes begging for it to be a nightmare. She would wake up and it won’t be true. He will come bouncing into her room and touch her face, asking her to play with him, just like he had always done. As the firemen and paramedics rushed in, she  tried to follow their orders to stay back, but her body wouldn’t obey. She had to help her son. She was his mother and that was her job. As they pulled the frantic mother into her room to calm her, her mind froze and shock started to set in. Then the words that she never expected to hear came from the fire chief, “I am sorry, but your son has passed.”  The pregnant mama fell at the fireman’s feet and cried out,” No! Please!” As they escorted her out of the house, she walked passed her child. Flashes from the cameras blinding her eyes. Like a crime scene. She felt nauseous. She tried to turn back for him, ” I need to go back for him. He’s my son and he needs me!”  But then realized, he didn’t need her. Not anymore.

As hundreds of family and friends gathered for this precious boy’s memorial, they all had one question in their minds, how did this happen? He fell asleep and died. No signs or symptoms. Mom and dad said goodbye. A deep pit lay in their throats. So many unanswered questions. What to do now. Carry on for the daughter who is one and for the baby inside.

Five months they waited for the autopsy. It arrived in the mail. So clinical and cold. Meningitis. Then came anger and the grief all over again. They shook their hands and heads in disbelief and cried out, ” Why, God?!!” For five years the questions and grief haunted their lives…

Sad to say that this story is completely true. This story is my story. But it is not the end of my story, for it is still being written.  I am sure you are wondering what happened next…

After a long period in the first few stages of grief, I asked God to show Himself to me, if He was real. I wanted my questions answered. Not going into too much specific detail (not enough time or room to write) but God answered my questions. Every. Single. One. The biggest one was the question, “Why?!?”. His answer, “I was sparing him.”

Isaiah 57:2 “The righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.”

I learned quite a few lessons during this time of my life. The three main ones being:

#1: To make the most of the time you have with your loved ones. Tell and show your kids everyday that you love them and that they are special to you and to God.

#2: Our children are only really ever lent to us. They are not our possessions. They are a gift from our Maker and He has entrusted us with being stewards over them for whatever time frame He deems. (This one has been really hard for me)

#3 God has shown Himself to me over and over again. Every time I challenged Him or questioned Him, he answered me, ten-fold. So, if you are struggling with God, believing in Him, trusting in Him, I highly encourage you to ask Him and see how He answers you.

1 John 4:1  “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”