There are a handful of days in my life that changed me. Days I can tell you what I was wearing or where I was sitting when I heard the news. JFK’s assassination. Daddy’s heart attack. Mom’s cancer. 911.
Anyone who lives long enough will have those days. Moments when you feel like you can’t breathe and disorienting chaos swirls through your heart and mind.
Those times when it feels like life is spinning out of control it’s good to know God is there. And not just there but good. Last night I visited my grieving friend. There were no words tender or wise enough to have helped her. No flowers bright enough. No hug warm enough. No prayer articulate enough.
Some years ago I was experiencing the trial of my life. It was one of “those” days. The news I heard that March day in 1998 rocked my world and started a series of life altering events. The sorrow and perplexity lingered for months, then came and went for years, as Benny and I sorted through the longterm effects of wrong choices made by someone we deeply love.
Friends called and tried to offer comfort, but it felt like someone was trying to put a bandaid onto an open chest wound. One of my friends told me she cried out to the Lord, asking “who is going to take care of Sheree?” You can expect what she heard back.
Oh, and He did. He took care of me through the loneliness. Heartache. Days when I couldn’t cook or do laundry or return phone calls. Sleepless nights. Fretful pacing in my bedroom when burying my face in a pillow was the only way to protect my kids from hearing Mommy’s sobs. Moments of begging God to help me understand why. And, yes, times when — for the first time in my life — I understood why people escaped to thoughts of death as a comforting option.
What should we do when someone we know or love is facing the trial of their life? The Holy Spirit will lead us. He will lead some to serve and others to organize service. A few to visit and many to understand why they weren’t asked to come. And all to pray. In my experience, the one thing that isn’t helpful is for well meaning friends to try to make sense of suffering by speculating what happened, why it happened or what might have been done to prevent it. Such matters are between the sufferer and their Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace.
I’m resting today in this timeless truth from God’s holy word:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Ps 34:18).
Are you suffering today? Is someone you love facing overwhelming circumstances?
Let’s remember that He is close and He still saves.