By: Brian Clark
It seems the past few months have brought much heartache for me and those around me. As I’ve dealt with grief and great loss, the same words that are meant to comfort us all during these times keep coming to mind. Sayings like, "Time heals all wounds," "This too shall pass," "God has a plan," "Hang in there," and the list goes on. Although the sentiments are nice, the comforting effects of these phrases do little.
I remember several years ago when my wife and I went through a particularly difficult season. We were blessed to be surrounded by friends and family who loved us and truly shared in our pain. Often in their compassion they would offer words of encouragement to help ease the sorrow. I recall appreciating the heartfelt attempts to comfort us as the waters of life raged out of control and our emotional and spiritual strength was tested to the limit.
As the details of our crisis became known to more people we were often approached by folks who shared similar stories of heartbreak and loss. Although we had known most of these people for many years we had never known some of the most defining and difficult moments of their lives. Moments that undoubtedly shaped them into the very people we had come to know and love. While the deepest part of their grief had subsided we stood smack dab in the middle of our storm clinging on for dear life.
As their stories were told I was shocked at how many people tried minimize their pain in an effort not to overshadow our situation. The accounts would often start with words such as, "I know this isn’t as painful as…," or "I realize this does not compare to…." Then I would listen to how some tragic event changed their life forever. I remember thinking how these dear people were trying to help us process our grief by sharing a similar experience but at the same time, in their humility, minimizing one of the most painful things anyone could face.
Through that ordeal I learned many valuable lessons. I feel one of the most important is not to try to compare any situation, any amount of pain, any level of sorrow with anyone else’s hurt because no one can really know the emotions another is facing except our Lord Jesus Christ. Psalm 56:8 (NLT) "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book."
Sometimes the best comfort you can receive, or give, is to just be there while the storm is raging. Seasons of grief are inevitable, like a hurricane; tragedy can rush in unexpectedly and at times tear us down to our foundations. These events and trials come in many shapes and forms and affect all of us in different ways. It is my prayer that when you face these trials you will know the peace that comes though the presence of the Spirit and God will send you someone that will be there as you endure.