Comforting Those In Mourning
Sometimes it is difficult to know what to say to someone who is grieving. Sometimes it is best not to say much or anything at all, but to be present to offer support in their loss. Just knowing you are there can make a world of difference to someone in deep sorrow.
Job had some friends who tried to comfort him by helping him to understand "why" he had lost his sons and daughters, servants and cattle, and why he is now afflicted with runny, painful boils; they said things like:
"You have instructed and strengthened many who were weak and your words have upheld him who was falling, But now it is come upon thee, and thou faint; it touches thee, and thou art troubled" (Job 4:5).
"If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression...if you were pure and upright; surely now he [God] would awake for you, and make the habitation of your righteousness prosperous" (Job 8:5,6).
"...Know therefore that God exacts of thee less than your iniquity deserves" (Job 11:6).
This is just a sample of what Job's three "friends" had to say to Job in his time of misery and grief. Notice how they clearly point out it is all his fault! Job responds in Job 13:4,5 "But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value. O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom."
When you don't know what to say, it is a sign of wisdom to hold your peace. The need of those who have lost their house in a fire or lost their job, or have lost their husband or wife, parent or child is not a matter of understanding "why," but a matter of feeling some comfort and "how" to get through the tough moments, hours, days, weeks and months that are ahead.
The Bible tells us, "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep" (Romans 12:15). It is worth repeating, your presence provides more comfort than you will know. It has been said that, "To rejoice with others is double joy, and to sorrow with others is to half sorrow."
Let us all work at being good comforters for we will all stand in need of comfort at some point in our lives. Let us support one another and help bear the burden (Galatians 6:2).
If you are afflicted or sorrowing today, I want you to know that God loves you and so do many people. It is not your fault for what you are suffering. My heart goes out to you. Keep looking up. For now, you wake with the thoughts of a departed loved one on your mind, one day, the moments of sorrow will grow farther apart. One day the good memories will fill your heart and provide sustaining comfort in the future. "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee," saith the Lord (Hebrews 13:5,6).
Michael R. Baggett