When we have friends or family going though difficult times, it can be easy to slip into passive platitude mode. To respond to horrifying news with comments like “God works all things together for good…” or “It will all work out…” or “Good things come to those who wait.” And, while those comments may be true, maybe the timing is off.
When somebody is going through the grief process, it’s easy to become uncomfortable and want to rush things. It’s easy to try to push the process forward. But that’s not what I see Jesus doing in Scripture – at least not when Lazarus died.
Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
Nope. Jesus entered into the grieving process with Mary. And his love was clear to those around him.
Now, I’m not suggesting that it’s right for us to wallow in grief. That we shouldn’t care enough to help our friends and family work through grief and come out the other side. But maybe we need to give them time to grieve.
A “kind of” personal story
A couple of years ago one of my uncles lost his wife. It was a difficult time for him – they’d been together decades and she was his best friend. They are strong in their faith, so he wasn’t concerned about eternity but he was hurting.
My mom felt deeply that what God would have her do was be part of grieving. To be there so he could cry and talk. So he could remember the good times. So he could have somebody laugh and cry with him. And that’s what she did.
I see so much grace and scripture in her approach. I see so much of God’s love in what she did. She knew that he knew the Scriptures and didn’t need somebody to cover over his pain with an anesthetic comment. Rather, he needed to heal.
What’s cool is this: I believe that God allowed my mom to offer His grace to my uncle (her brother) in ways that wouldn’t have been possible if she tried to move things forward herself. I believe he’s in a better place because she listened and cried and laughed with him.
Note: When I wrote this last week I had no idea how timely it would be. We are now grieving the loss of a dear friend along with her husband and family. We have been deeply blessed to know them and are crying with them and praying for them.
Will you do that for somebody?
I hope that some day I have the emotional depth and the spiritual perception to do that kind of thing for somebody else. I don’t think it will be easy or comfortable. But I want to be part of God’s compassion living and breathing on the Earth.
How about you? Will you show God’s love to somebody who is struggling through a difficult time? Will you laugh and cry with somebody who’s grieving the loss of a loved one?
It might make all the difference.