Monday, December 10, 2012

Wise Words on Helping a Friend Facing a Trial

I received this devotion from my sweet friend Vicki Ponce (she sends this daily to my mailbox!). The sage advice in this devotion is a "must share"...

I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all. Shall windy words have an end? Or what provokes you that you answer? Job 16:2-3
Have you ever had a friend go through a hard time and you didn’t know how to comfort them? We might quote Romans 8:28, thinking that it will make them feel better, knowing that God will make this horrible situation out for his good. We can’t stomach not having words to say to someone who is hurting or confused. We want to try to explain why their situation is happening or give them words of comfort. We might even call them daily to see if their situation is improving. Job’s friends were the same way. The majority of the book of Job consists of his friends explaining to him why his children have died, his livestock are all gone, and he has sores all over his body. We would generally agree with most of the reasons his friends give for his hurting. But, they aren’t the reasons Job has actually encountered these hardships! Their words of comfort were really words of discomfort. Sometimes God will use us to give a Biblical answer to the suffering a person is enduring, but there will still be instances when we have no idea what to say. Instead of spouting off religiously oriented phrases in these situations, we should listen, listen, and listen some more. 
Dear Lord:  Please put the right words in my mouth so that in their discomfort they can find some comfort from YOU.  And Lord, help me to listen first to who is struggling and then listen to you for the response, if there even is one.  AMEN


May God Bless you and Keep you, In His Service, Vicki
Many of you know that I have had recent difficult trials of my own. I can tell you from my experience that Vicki's words are true. I have learned what is not helpful for sure....preaching at a person who is hurting (no matter how good your intentions) is not helpful, nor is telling them how they ought to be dealing with their trial. You not only don't fully know what they are going through-you don't know what they have gone through prior to this either.
But, the ones who listen to you, and who gently remind you that you are on their heart and mind, and they are praying--that is soothing to the soul and a blessing. I want to be that kind of a friend.
Thank you so much Vicki-a lady who has had many, many trials of her own-for this wonderful devotion. I pray God uses this in our lives as we try to bless and minister to our friends who face trials of their own.

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