Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What does your friend need to hear?

     It's been some time since I posted a blog. June 27, 2012. But today news of a friend's deep trial came to my attention. It's been a very long one and has included issues that will have long term consequences. Things are beyond her control or capacity to bring about a good outcome. My friend is seemingly at the mercy of a very evil person. 
     What do we say in such circumstances? "Hang in there. God's timing is perfect. You just need to trust Him, etc." Those things are true but not the best things to say to someone in deep agony. 

     Nearly two years ago now (July 9, 2012), my youngest son died after trying to keep a boy from falling into dangerous waters. There was a phrase which was repeated by some during those days that really comforted me. "I have no words". Those words said something that really touched my core. "Your grief is beyond measure". The weight of my trial was conveyed. It gave permission to grieve. It knit our hearts together. 

     Job's friends, book of Job in the Bible, are examples of what not to say. They didn't believe that you would suffer without provocation, so kept urging Job to confess sin! It's all too easy to begin judging a friend who is taking a lot of unexplained hits. 

     "No words". How much better to sit...just sit...with a friend in agony.  With no words. Listen. In silence. "No words". And pray. Pray for strength for them in their weakness. Pray for peace in the midst of fear. Pray for comfort in grief. Pray for wisdom in the turmoil. Most of all, pray for God's presence in the storm. God promises strength in our weakness, peace in the storm, wisdom in billowing waves and presence with us always. His words are always appropriate and perfect.