How to Comfort the Suffering
I wish you could have met me when I was twenty-one, because I knew everything then. I would have had an answer for any question you may have asked. But now that a few years have passed, I don’t know as much as I once did.
The fact is that I didn’t know as much as I thought I knew back then. And after more than forty years of ministry, I have found that one of the best things you can do for a hurting person is to just be there. Sometimes when we don’t know what to say, we simply don’t show up. That is wrong. Just being there means a lot to someone who is suffering.
When the time of Jesus’ crucifixion drew near, He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He knew exactly what was waiting for Him. He knew they would crucify Him. Worst of all, being God, He knew He would have to bear all the sins of the world. So Jesus went to Gethsemane and took Peter, James, and John along. Then He told them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me" (Matthew 26:38). Yes, Jesus is God. But He actually asked for His three friends to stay with Him and watch with Him during this time.
If you’re speaking to a grieving person, it’s often good to simply say something like "I love you" or "I am here" or "I am praying for you." If they don’t want to talk, don’t talk. Don’t try to explain things, because explanations never heal a broken heart. Just sit there with them.
We have to avoid the easy answers and clichés when we’re trying to comfort the suffering, because if we aren’t careful, we may add to their pain.
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