Regardless of where she went, she couldn’t find comfort.
Leah and her husband were never apart. They even volunteered at the same place after they retired. Both appeared to be in good health, so you can imagine Leah’s shock when Jeff stumbled into the doorway from cutting grass and said he wasn’t feeling well. Within minutes, he had slumped over—never to revive[CS1] .
Although months have passed since Jeff’s death, Leah still mourns and suffers from anxiety and depression. She has been to counselors, pastors, and friends, but nothing soothes her pain. She can’t focus and struggles to make it through each day. Leah left her old church, saying she just couldn’t stand to attend without Jeff. She longs for lasting comfort, but can’t find it anywhere.
Job didn’t find comfort with his fair-weather friends either. He had lost almost everything a person could lose and still survive. And worse, God had permitted his woes to prove to Satan that Job would maintain his loyalty despite extreme adversity. The only comfort Job’s friends could muster was telling him he had sinned. Confess and things will get better was their advice. Job, however, had nothing to confess. He maintained his innocence and muddled through his pain and sorrow.
Job’s friends were typical. They thought they had to say something to soothe his grief—so they did. What they said didn’t do the trick nor was it biblically sound. Telling someone God needed another angel or you know how they feel, is hollow comfort. God doesn’t take life to get angels, nor do humans become angels after death. And no two people experience the same episode in similar ways.
Presence in the midst of grief is better than words. Sharing truth from God’s Word can be comforting, but timing is critical. Sit, listen, and let the person cry on your shoulder. When the time is right, they’ll ask, and then you can share words of wisdom they might need to hear. For the moment, silence is golden and practical help is priceless.
Comforting those who are grieving is tricky business. Before you speak or act, ask God for direction and wisdom.
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