Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hope in the storm #3: A Friend in Suffering

I've been sharing about suffering. In Post 1 I shared resources and in Post 2 I looked at the questions Jesus asked in the midst of His own suffering. Today, I want to talk about being a friend to the suffering.
"God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more."-2 Corinthians 7:6-7
This verse means so much to me. In times of deepest despair, I have cried out to God and He has answered me through His Word. This verse of comfort is one tangible way. God shows us His nearness in our suffering through His people. Isn't that just like God?  Sometimes He seems far in those dark days, but His Word says He is comforting us then. He doesn't leave us alone in our suffering. He comforts us by sending others to mourn with us, cry with us, hope for us when we feel hopeless, share life giving truth, and pray with us.

Are you a friend to the suffering? It doesn't take a seminary degree or even a wealth of experience. I wonder if in our fear of saying the wrong thing, we shy away from people who are desperate for evidence that God is real and He cares. Let's be people who go towards each other in our deepest pain to show love.

- A short note (even a facebook message or text) to say you are praying and they are not alone. You can even share Scripture that is meaningful to you or brought you comfort in suffering.
- Call. Even when you don't know what to say and it's hard, it speaks love that you are willing to pursue. Or going.
- Go sit with your friend. Hug them, pray with them, cry with them, whatever emotion comes may not heal them, but will certainly let them know they are not alone as they hurt/grieve/suffer.
-Maybe you can find a way to serve them that eases a burden (watching kids so they can rest, cleaning the house, bringing a meal, picking up groceries for them from the store, maybe even paying a bill to help ease financial burden.)

God alone brings comfort and in His Word we hope. And He speaks His deep love to us through His Word and through His people. Let's be messengers of His Word who usher in hope to those He places in our lives.

1 comment:

Nicole said...

This is such a meaningful post for me, because you live this out in more than just words. "Just" sending a facebook post to me when we were grieving my mom was so meaningful. Your prayers were felt double by letting me know that you lifted them! Love and prayers for you, our friends. :)