The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:9-10 NIV
“My job is to make your life easier right now. This is how I’m going to do it. Does that work?” Many wise people have asked this.
There is no such thing as going back to normal after tremendous losses: No. Such. Thing.
Death of a loved one
Victim of a crime
Divorce – children suffer too
Let’s bust some common and harmful things right now!
Quoting scripture: Band-Aids on an amputation. Scripture is wonderful and true but that’s not what’s needed right away. Please. It just adds salt to the wound. For instance the hurting person will hear, whether you mean it or not: “If you were a better Christian…” “If you just had faith…” Don’t. Just don’t.
“He’s with God now.” Making God the villain to a suffering person leaves the bereaved feeling even lonelier and hopeless. This may be true, but separation is always painful.
“At least you have other children.” See previous paragraph.
“God never gives you more than you can handle.” This one drives me nuts! It was used when I was caring for my husband with Lewy body dementia. My Father did not do this! He is not the author of disease! He did not give my husband dementia. The Liar did. God knows I couldn’t handle this, which is why prayer, wise and caring friends and support groups are essential. If I have cancer, God knows this and provides professionals along with hope. Paul frequently healed others but it was Luke, a gentile doctor, who attended to Paul’s wounds.
“Well, at least he’s still with you.” Wrong, wrong, wrong again! I lost pieces of my hubby day after day after day. He died daily. Those with spouses, children or relatives with an addiction lose them piece-by-piece, day-after-grueling day. Always on alert for the next disaster. Ask a dementia caregiver or parent with an addicted child. Are they really with you? Did you lose pieces of yourself along the journey? Or better, what do you need from me?
“Well, at least you have each other.” How many Floridians who suffered from the hurricane are jumping for joy on that one? They lost their entire fortunes, homes, mental health, faith and much more. It may be true they have each other, but the shock settles in. Their way of life is gone! Their friends are gone! Their church building is gone. More grueling days, months or years ahead.
AND THE MOST HURTFUL ONE EVER!!!!
Everything happens for a reason: Yes, yes it does. Here’s the reason: Evil in this world. Remember when Job lost everything and his friends visited him and grieved with him? They were a comfort until they opened their mouths and decided Job must have done something wrong. Don’t hurt a person’s conscience and heart with this one.
Maybe prayer, arms, listening ears, running errands, a homemade meal, a personal gift or say, “This is really tough! You are going through a nightmare. Tell me more.” And listen. Ask our Father to open our heart to see theirs. Jesus said many times, “What can I do for you?” Then he did it. We need to follow his way.
It’s so sad and destructive the trite sayings we trot out to those with agonizing losses. But Jesus showed us a much better way. If this has been done to you, I pray for your full healing.
Ask. Validate. Companion. Love.
Isaiah lamented he was a man with unclean lips who lives with people with unclean lips. Unclean lips doesn’t mean just swear words. Unclean lips are gossip, oaths, sarcasm, threats, and saying hurtful things. We are to weep with those who weep. We all will weep one day. We aren’t “Sunshine Christians.” Help us to be “Sonshine Christians.”
We go onward with your grace, transformation, love and hope with thanks.