Friday, February 4, 2011

I'm Learning

Sometimes we don’t really need answers to the why’s of life.

Sometimes we just need to know Someone is listening to us when we ask them.

There’s an incredible sense of comfort in just knowing someone is with you during the hard times. In my psychiatric nursing classes, we learned the benefits of presence, of listening, of empathizing. We didn’t learn how to fix it all—but simply how to be present with one who is ill, hurting, or grieving. We learned that words aren’t always necessary. Answers aren’t always possible.

Caring, loving, and just being there was sometimes enough.

In my own times of sorrow, I find myself most grateful for the ones who entered into it with me. Who didn’t shy away from the messiness. Who didn’t offer trite explanations or haughty words of advice as they tiptoed around the situation. But those who held me, cried with me, and shared their own stories of brokenness and healing.

And so my own reaction to the suffering of others has changed. Rather than awkwardly wondering what to say, I realize that sometimes words aren’t needed. They probably don’t need the cliché reminders that a lost loved one is in a better place, that others have worse problems, or that it was meant to be. More likely they need the reminder that they are not alone in their pain. That it is okay to grieve, and others will kneel down in prayer to hold them up. That’s the Body of Christ in action.

One of the most beautiful and powerful Scripture meditations I’ve ever heard was from a few simple thoughts on John 11, when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. The point that took root in my heart was that even though Jesus knew He was going to raise Lazarus from death to life, He wept (vs. 35). He grieved with His friends in the moment, even though He knew it would all turn out in the end.

Wow. What a God we serve—that He enters into our sorrow and feels it with us. And so should we with each other, as we seek to follow His example.

He listens. He loves. He cares. He comforts.

And so must we. Taking comfort in Him, and sharing that comfort with others.

Life sends its hard knocks to everyone. Many things are unanswerable this side of heaven. But perhaps we really don’t need the answers. We know the One who has the answers; but more than that, we know He is with us in the suffering—and every moment of life.

And that, my friends, makes this life beautiful.


  1. Thank you this. In the light of some recent losses I've experienced, I know that someone being there with me IS the most important thing - and to know that God is there. Whew. It takes my breath away.

  2. You're welcome, Rachelle. I'm glad you, too, are finding comfort in the presence of God and others. Praying for you.