So a couple nights ago, I totally had a new post written … I was all set to add the pictures and get everything set when … my computer froze and I lost the whole thing. Grrr. My laptop has been doing that a lot lately. So now, that post will come … oh maybe next week.
On a very different note … this week has been kinda hard. Not necessarily for me personally, but for those around me. It seems like almost every day has been filled with at least one person telling me of trials and just plain sad things going on in their lives or the lives of those they love. None of us are untouched by the effects of this sin-fallen world. I’ve thought of Romans 8 … “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (vv. 22-23). I’ve also been reminded of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “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.”
A couple months ago, I wrote this following list, as I thought of how to comfort those who are suffering. I share it simply because the few people who have read it were blessed … so maybe you’ll be blessed by it too.
Lessons for Comforting Those in Trials:
1. Be a faithful, fervent prayer warrior – tell them!
2. Purpose to remember they’re still in the trial even after the 1st difficult weeks have passed. Your life may have moved on, but chances are that theirs hasn’t.
3. Don’t let them hide – draw them out.
4. Remember that emotions and the roller coaster ride are very real. Be sensitive to the fact that the need of the moment changes.
5. It’s the little things that matter – flowers, an invitation to dinner, a valentine left on the doorstep, firewood left on the doorstep, a birthday card, a text message, being silly and laughing and creating a distraction. Those are the things that show the hands of Jesus to someone hurting! Practice random acts of kindness.
6. Pray with them.
7. Hug them, hold them
8. Be a good listener – show interest, show concern, ask good questions, and later on … follow up!
9. Offer counsel. Walking through trials can include a lot of moments of needing to walk in wisdom … wisdom they may not have, or forget that they do have.
10. Don’t assume. If you have not been given all the details of the situation/trial, don’t assume you know. Offering counsel for what you THINK/ASSUME is happening is not wise or helpful. It can just hurt the person more that you’re making assumptions. AND, don’t assume they’re fine.
11. Be available. Tell them you’re available, tell them they can call any time. BUT … don’t leave the ball in their court. They don’t want to intrude or be a burden. You initiate and make some of the moves so they know you offers are genuine.
12. Remind them (when appropriate – not every conversation you have probably) of who God is and what He’s done. He’s faithful, He’s sovereign, He’s good, He’s just.
13. Understand that church can be the hardest, most uncomfortable, awkward place for them to be. Seek them out, sit with them, walk with them, be there for them.
For my dear friends and family reading this and walking through trials, know that I love you and am praying for you … and I am striving to live out what I wrote.