Saturday, January 26, 2008

Caring for the Hurting

Jon Smith "provides some pastoral reflections on being great comforters to the suffering." His story:
I will never forget those grief-stricken 4 hours – sorrowful, painful, tragic. My wife and I embraced our infant son Chase, singing to him, praying for him, and could do nothing but helplessly watch his life wither away.

Six months earlier we discovered our son Chase had a fatal birth defect. We knew, barring a significant miracle, that he was going to die, but we did not know of the unimaginable pain and suffering that his death would bring to our door – we had never really suffered the loss of anything. We were able to spend four precious but painful hours with our little boy and our last act as his earthly parents was to hold him in our arms as we sang, “It is Well With My Soul.” Chase breathed his last right before we concluded the last line of this never to be forgotten song.

My wife and I never imagined that we would lay any of our children in the grave, let alone watch them suffer and die in our arms. But, neither did we imagine the band of close friends and comforters that God would send to us in our greatest hour of need. We weren’t the only ones that held him, sang to him, and prayed for him that day in the hospital, nor were we the only one’s weeping at his departure - they were too. They walked with us, cried with us, prayed with us, and carried us for months. They were great comforters to us. They were Christ to us.
A summary of the lessons he shares:
  • Weep with those who weep.
  • Help them run to where their supreme comfort can be found.
  • Help them speak with honest emotion.
  • Choose your words carefully.
  • Let them initiate the doctrinal questions.
  • Don’t ignore them or the death.
  • Pray for those who are suffering.

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