When someone close to you experiences tragedy, it is hard to know how to help. Every person is deals with stress, emotions, and grief in their own way and it’s important that we remember and respect this. The church family can be such an asset to support those in the community and beyond. But we have to do everything for the hurting with grace and care. Here are some points to start at, certainly don’t let this limit you!
Empathize, share in the pain as best as you can. Not to feel sorry or pity for them, but to suffer with them, in a way. As in the Bible, Hebrews 4:14-16
‘Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.’
Be there! When you go through the valleys, it can come to pass that those who you thought were your friends, are nowhere in sight. Your church community shares in your faith journey and they can show up when everyone else is, well, caught up with busyness. Calling, flowers, and a card are all great – but the presence you offer is such a priceless gift.
Look to the Bible with them to find solace, comfort, and recognize that pain and suffering is a part of all life, here on earth. It’s hard to know if you should help them see through the pain, or if they’re ready to. But faith can be strengthened and restored amidst the struggles we will all inevitably face.
Offer prayer to those in crisis – pray with them, for them, whatever they need. It’s hard to see God’s Love when we’re going through it. When your friend doesn’t have the energy and will to pray their selves, do it for them.
Be a ray of hope when the dark clouds gather and encourage those struggling to see beyond their struggles. Growth and presence are great gifts of unfortunate circumstances. But since we can’t change what’s happened, we can, in time, use our challenges to sharpen ourselves.