Posts Tagged "Mourning"
This past week our church family suffered a tragic loss. The 21 year old son of two long-time church members, a kid who had grown up in our church, went missing while hiking in Colorado. I do not know the family personally, but our pastor posted a facebook status update last Wednesday night asking for prayers and suggesting that we “pray like it was your son!” That hit home with me. As the father of four kids, I started to think what it must be like for that family. Needless to say, they were in my prayers frequently over the next couple of days. Like many from around the world, I prayed that everything would work out OK, and that he would be found. Late Friday night, the sad word came that the young man’s body had been found, and that he had died in a tragic accident. My heart ached as I read those words, and continues to ache, for a family I have never even met. At the same time, I was comforted by the fact this young man, taken out of this world in his prime, was now with our savior Jesus Christ. That family continues in my prayers as they work through this grieving process.
To be honest, throughout my life, I have found that one of the hardest things I have had to deal with is people who have lost a loved one. I think a lot of people feel that way. It is not a comfortable position to be in. I never know what the right thing to say is, and I just feel inadequate for the task. On the heels of this tragedy, the pastors at our church presented a message this past weekend titled “Tragedy and the Gospel.” As part of the message, still working through the grief of the most recent tragedy to befall our local church body, our Associate Pastor offered practical advice to those of us trying to comfort those going through the grieving process. It struck a cord with me, and I thought I would pass it along. He offered the following advice:
- Helping people grieve is not just for professional pastors.
- Keep praying for them. Don’t stop! Dealing with tragedy is a process.
- Be with those who are grieving to the extent that you are a blessing. Do not withdraw.
- This is not the time to offer unsolicited advice.
- Refrain from correcting one another’s theology in the midst of tragedy. Overwhelmed with grief, people will question God. It is part of the grieving process. Allow each other the freedom to ask questions and express grief.
- Don’t feel like you have to fix the situation or the problem or even to identify with the person grieving. The grieving process is all about the person grieving and God. It’s not about you and what has happened to you that may or may not be relevant.
- Listen! Listen! Listen, and listen some more!
- Support one another practically. Hugs, meals, prayers and offers of help are comforting. The most important thing is that God wants to tell those who are grieving “I love you!” Be the hands and feet of Jesus’ love.
- Pray with those who are hurting. Pray that the Holy Spirit would come and pour out more of himself on them and the current situation. Pray for a connection between the griever and God. Let God do the work, he is good at it!