When good friends share crises and devastating circumstances and heartfelt worries, I am often at a loss for words. I've learned in my many years of life that trite sayings provide little comfort and assurance, and it's better to keep silent and start praying than to spout off words just for the sake of filling the silence (for those of you who have known me before I learned this---I am sorry that I didn't know this earlier!). My really good friends know me well enough now that I sometimes need 1-2 weeks of praying and thinking to have any type of meaningful response.
So how do I respond after those 1-2 weeks? Much of what some of my friends are facing are circumstances that I've never had to deal with. But I have had different crises and devastating circumstances over the years. And the way my mind works, I return to what I know---and this is what I can share:
What do I know? I know that God never promised us that life would be perfect and that everyone we love would live as long as we want them to. He has told us in His Word that our trials help us grow. That the process of walking through these "fires" (with Him never leaving our side) serves to refine us--like precious metals. I know that even when we can't feel the presence of God, He indeed continues to walk with us through all the paths He allows us to experience. I know that God is our refuge and strength in trouble. He gives strength to the weary. I know that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted. I know that praising God "in the storm" has a healing effect. I know that as we draw near to God, He promises to draw near to us. I know that spending time with a community of believers who encourage and show grace and know how to love on us is necessary and invaluable.
And I've learned that God's Word can be a healing balm. He loves us more than we can ever imagine. His Word is a treasure. I promised some friends today that I would share some comforting passages to read and meditate on. Two main Scriptures to start with (for what I know these friends are experiencing and feeling) are Psalm 34 and Psalm 91. I like the New Living Translation, and you can read these at Biblegateway.com (in any translation you prefer!). Some good verses to commit to memory are Psalm 42:5 , Psalm 9:9-10, Pslam 61:1-3, and Psalm 121.
Do we look to the mountains for our help? No! Our help comes from the Lord--maker of heaven and earth. He calls us to lay down our burdens--He will carry us. And when you come out on the other side of the path that you are currently on, you will be able to look back and see the "God moments" and know that He was with you all along.