It’s such a hard thing when you see someone you love suffer. I’ll never forget the day my grandfather died. My grandmother let out an almost animal like wail of grief that seemed to slice right through me. There was nothing I could say or do that could make things better for her. To be honest, she was never the same after that day.
To be human is to know pain, yet it’s a helpless feeling to watch waves of suffering crash over loved ones and strangers alike. Suffering is never really expected; it feels foreign and wrong. Sometimes, I’ve sat with others in pain and done it well. Other times, I’ve been like Job’s friends, well intentioned, but the trouble started as soon as our mouths opened and answers were offered as to why…why horrible things happen.
Sometimes as a Christian, I think I need to have answers and that will make things better. The truth is, I don’t have all the answers, but God does, even if it is hidden from my eyes. Job understood this. He knew that his life and well being were held in the very hand of God:
Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind…To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his. Job 12:9…12
Maybe, part of the answer is in quietly sitting beside the suffering one. Maybe it lies in being still; maybe it is found in acknowledging the pain and grief and not being afraid to help another carry it. Maybe part of the answer happens when we humbly invite the presence of God when the broken person isn’t able to.
You, Lord suffered and died on the cross and understand our brokenness and pain. Give me humility and wisdom when it’s time to comfort and stand by others. Teach me when to speak and when to be silent. And always, even if it’s in silence, help me to point others to you.