‘Our need for comfort means that we need people
not only to ease our grief or pain
but also to give us strength and hope to go on.’
Sometimes you either hear or read news that brings such pain, tears to your heart as though it was happening to you. As you listen intently or re-read a message from a friend who is hurting, you are lost in that moment, where nothing else matters, the world feels like it has suddenly stopped. For that moment as you take on board the pain filled words of a friend who is suffering, as your shoulder is damp from their tears, you listen to them trying to make sense of what they are going through in a way that will enable them to keep their heads above the stormy waters…Your heart joins with theirs.
‘Shoulder each other’s burdens,
and then you will live as the law of the Anointed teaches us.’
Galatians 6:2 The Voice
My heart has broken and been re-mended more times that I can think of. As God created us, He blessed us with a heart that feels, where emotions are designed to draw alongside each other, in love for one another, as Jesus taught us.
Many worry about what is the best or most appropriate thing to say to someone who is suffering. Often if we don’t have personal experience of what they are going through, we worry about what to say, or through fear of saying the wrong thing we stay silent.
‘Live in true devotion to one another,
loving each other as sisters and brothers.
Be first to honor others by putting them first.’
Romans 12:10 The Voice
We can discover a lot from the ministry of Jesus, as we learn about God’s compassion through the life of His Son; for His heart is for the broken and lost. As we draw closer to our Saviour and spend time in His presence, we take on the attributes of Jesus in our actions and words. We demonstrate the character of our loving God, who wants to meet with us at our deepest need.
As Jesus met with thousands of people who were hurting, broken, weary, through His time on earth, not one person was made to feel like they were not important to Him; each treasured, valued, as He came to show us The Way (Jn 14:6).
‘All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One.
He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort.
He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life
so that we may draw from His comfort
and share it with others in their own struggles.’
2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 The Voice
The Characteristics of a true friend demonstrated through the life of Jesus
- He shows us love (1 John 4:16)
- He is tender-hearted and compassionate (Psalm 103:13) (Psalm 116:5)
- We are valuable to Him (Luke 12:24)
- He understands (1 Chronicles 28:9)
- He is faithful (Hosea 2:20)
- He is patient (Exodus 34:6)
- He is kind (1 Corinthians 13:4)
- He comforts us ( Psalm 119:50)
- He won’t abandon us (Psalm 94:14)
- He is hope ( Romans 15:13)
As we take on these characteristics as part of the body of Christ, we are His light to one another, as we stand together and fix our eyes on the One who can help us. We don’t need the answers, we only need to point each other to the King of kings, Lord of lords, the God of hope.
We may not understand fully the pain our friends go through, we aren’t in their shoes, but we can demonstrate the comfort that Jesus has blessed us with, through our times of difficulty.
Jesus shows us how to be there for one another; as we depend on the One who provides love, acceptance, support, encouragement, comfort. He asks us to clothe ourselves with these very things –
‘Since you are all set apart by God, made holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with a holy way of life:
compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.’
Colossians 3:12 The Voice
Sometimes there is no need for words; being there in person, through prayer, providing a listening ear will help our loved ones find the strength they need, from the strength and hope giver – Jesus.
As we stand with those who are in pain, we mourn with those who are suffering and show them that they are not alone. As we walk alongside them holding their hand, Jesus holds the other, and lightens their load.
‘I cried out, “I am slipping!”
but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me.
When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.’
Psalm 94:18-19 NLT
Who can you be a friend to, today?
Please join me in prayer
I bring my friends who are in pain to You today, for everyone in need.
I thank You that You are a God of comfort, hope, joy and peace.
For those who are in pain, who are struggling, walking in darkness, I place them into Your hands.
Please touch them at their deepest need.
Please surround them with Your people, to comfort and point them to You, when they are low.
I thank You that You understand our pain, that You are with us through it all.
Where we don’t understand why, we lay it at your feet and call on Your name to help us.
I seek Your face; please guide me to be the friend You have called me to be, to demonstrate Your light, hope, and love to those in need.
I thank You for Your great love and compassion.
In Your precious name,
This post is a part of a series – ‘Finding hope when it feels hopeless’
To see my other posts please see:
With thanks to –
Book quote: See yourself as God sees you, Josh McDowell, Alpha, 2001. P45
Photo: ‘friends’ by © Salina T Gibson Photography
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