Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Helping Others Deal With Tragedy

Chuckle: "Birthdays are good for you -- the more you have, the longer you live."
Quote: "Hope means expectancy when things are otherwise hopeless." --G.K. Chesterton
    "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV).
When someone close to us experiences a tragic loss, such as the death of a loved one, we feel inadequate to express our feelings as we grope for the right words. We hope to somehow make the tragedy a little more bearable by our presence and support. Because of our human inadequacies, there's only one place to go for consolation and comfort -- God's Word. How can we minister to those experiencing tragedies in their lives?
We can intercede for them in prayer.  I love this prayer. "O Lord, who is the comforter of your children, the God of love and tenderness, I pray for those who mourn at this time. We need not tell their sorrow to you. In the stillness of our hearts we ask for them your sustaining grace. Be their stay in this sore trial; the strength of the fainting heart and the Light of the darkened home. Open their eyes to see the Father's House on high, and may they feel assured that the departed has found a better life, and a more perfect rest in you.  Almighty God, may this visitation of death be your voice speaking to us, and may it minister to a truer and holier life in our souls. May our passing days be rich in those things which death cannot take from us; and may you strengthen us to live that life of faith and righteousness, of love and peace, which makes the last earthly change but a step nearer to you, our Everlasting Refuge and Home. Hear us for your mercy's sake, through Jesus Christ our Lord." --John Hunter
We can help meet their spiritual needs by encouraging them to turn to God for comfort, strength, and peace rather than being angry with God. "The Lord is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving" (Psalm 28:7 NLT).
We can help meet their physical needs in practical ways. "When God's children are in need, be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night" (Romans 12:13 NLT). You can help greatly by your compassion, warm hospitality, and other practical ministries.
We can help meet their emotional needs by making ourselves available and by spending time with them. We can be a shoulder to lean on and cry on. We can offer a sympathetic ear to their expressions of pain. "When others are happy, be happy with them. if they are sad, share their sorrow" (Romans 12:15 NLT). "Share each other's troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2 NLT). Hurting people need empathy and understanding rather than advice.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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