Please Don’t Give Me a Christian Answer

Please Don’t Give Me a Christian Answer

June 30, 2016

“Jesus wept.” John 11:35 (NIV)

LYSA TERKEURST

I love Jesus. I love God. I love His Truth. I love people.

But I don’t love packaged Christian answers. Those that tie everything up in a nice neat bow. And make life a little too tidy.

Because there just isn’t anything tidy about some things that happen in our broken world. The senseless acts of violence we hear about continually in the news are awful and sad and so incredibly evil.

And God help me if I think I’m going to make things better by thinking up a clever Christian saying to add to all the dialogue. God certainly doesn’t need people like me — with limited perspectives, limited understanding and limited depth — trying to make sense of things that don’t make sense.

Is there a place for God’s truth in all this? Absolutely. But we must, must, must let God direct us. In His time. In His way. In His love.

And when things are awful we should just say, “This is awful.” When things don’t make sense, we can’t shy away from just saying, “This doesn’t make sense.” Because there is a difference between a wrong word at the wrong time and a right word at the right time.

When my sister died a horribly tragic death, it was because a doctor prescribed some medication no child should ever be given. And it set off a chain of events that eventually found my family standing over a pink rose-draped casket.

Weeping.

Hurting.

Needing time to wrestle with grief and anger and loss.

And it infuriated my raw soul when people tried to sweep up the shattered pieces of our life by saying things like, “Well, God just needed another angel in heaven.” It took the shards of my grief and twisted them even more deeply into my already broken heart.

I understand why they said things like this … they wanted to say something. To make it better. Their compassion compelled them to come close.

And I wanted them there. And then I didn’t.

Everything was a contradiction. I could be crying hysterically one minute and laughing the next. And then I’d feel so awful for daring to laugh that I wanted to cuss. And then sing a praise song. I wanted to shake my fist at God and then read His Scriptures for hours.

There’s just nothing tidy about all that.

But the thing I know now that I wish I knew then is that even Jesus understood what it was like to feel deeply human emotions like grief and heartache. We see this in John 11:32-35 when Jesus receives the news that his dear friend Lazarus has died, “When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother [Lazarus] would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. ‘Where have you laid him?’ he asked. ‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied. Jesus wept.”

Yes, Jesus wept and mourned with His loved ones in that devastatingly heartbreaking moment. And the fact that He can identify with my pain is so comforting to me.

You want to know the best thing someone said to me in the middle of my grief?

I was standing in the midst of all the tears falling down on black dresses and black suits on that grey funeral day. My heels were sinking into the grass. I was staring down at an ant pile. The ants were running like mad around a footprint that had squashed their home.

I was wondering if I stood in that pile and let them sting me a million times if maybe that pain would distract me from my soul pain. At least I knew how to soothe physical pain.

Suddenly, this little pigtailed girl skipped by me and exclaimed, “I hate ants.”

And that was hands-down the best thing anyone said that day.

Because she just entered in right where I was. Noticed where I was focused in that moment and just said something basic. Normal. Obvious.

Yes, there is a place for a solid Christian answer from well-intentioned friends. Absolutely. But then there’s also a place to weep with a hurting friend from the depths of your soul.

God help us to know the difference.

Dear Lord, thank You for being there in my darkest time. I know You are real and You are the only one who can bring comfort to seemingly impossible situations. Please help me speak Your truth to those around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 12:15-16a, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.” (NIV)

Proverbs 15:23, “A person finds joy in giving an apt reply — and how good is a timely word!” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
We may live in a broken world, but inner peace and security are still possible. Discover how in Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. Lysa will help you watch God use disappointments for good and find incredible joy as you live your faith out every day. You can order your copy here.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Think of someone in your life who is going through a really tough situation. How can you make a difference in their life today?

It may involve serving them and making sure their physical needs are met during this difficult time. Allow God to lead you as you try to serve your friend best.

© 2016 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Ordinary words are sometimes the most powerful. Thank you for this wonderful reminder. May God bless the reading of his word. Amen!

  2. I’m sorry your sister died. When my brother died, I brought my three year old with me to the viewing. It was awkward, bc I am an illigitimate birth…my parents were both married to someon else when I was conceived. And, my birth broke up two families. As a result, I wasn’t always a pleasant reminder to lots of folks. So, funerals can be awkward, just like weddings and fsmily reunions. But, my brother had died. And, my three year old sensed my loneliness…we were sitting in a room of the funeral home reading books, and she hopped up and grabbed my hand and said, “let’s go see your dead brother.” Simple. Sweet. Innocent and wanting me to heal. It is so refreshing to have someone just say the obvious. Thank you for speaking right into my heart so often!! Xoxo

    • Hi Lysa TerKeurst!!!! Thank you for this post!!!!! To Ms. Amelia who replied on June 30, 2016 at 12:20 a.m. I totally understand you and Mrs. Lysa!!! My mother, Charletta Jones, died on April 4, 2001. It was the most devastating time of my life!!!! I was 8 months pregnant by a married man that I had met on my job. My mother had gone through cancer and the LORD brought her through victoriously the first time. But the second time, she died! I had all of the expectations of my mother going to be there for me! I thought that she would have been healed of the cancer and then live on! My mother had promised me that she would be here to help me! The sting of her death lingered in my life for years even after her passing!!! I felt the guilt and shame on the day of my mother’s funeral! I was standing there pregnant, unmarried, and my father is a Preacher, and on top of that my Dad had asked me to speak on behalf of the family!!!!!!! I was scared out of my mind 🙂 Then fast forward to a few years ago, my oldest son, whom I was pregnant with at my mother’s passing, his biological grandfather died. My brother had gotten in touch with me to give me the news. So I had made plans to go to the funeral and to take my children with me! We went and the day of my oldest son’s grandfather’s funeral, as I stood outside the church waiting with the others to go in, I heard two women in front of me talking about me and my son. I felt the immediate sting of my actions done years ago and I felt that I should just leave. But God truly gave me His grace and I stayed, but when we finally went in, I sat in the back! I know what’s it’s like to be on the side of the well meaning Christian!! Before the death of my mother and my son’s biological grandfather, I would speak some of those same things! But then when I personally went through the deaths of 2 people that I knew, then on top of that my Husband and I have had 3 deaths of our babies. They died in my womb all of them at 1 month in age!!!!!! I WAS SHATTERED INSIDE!!!!! My family and others in the church would tell me to be grateful for the ones that I have and that my babies that died weren’t meant to be???!!!??? (I KNOW NOW THAT THAT’S A LIE—my babies not being meant to be: Isaiah 66:9; I have now God’s word for my future pregnanc(y)(ies)). But after my own experiences, when others would go through deaths of their loved ones, I would just ask the Holy Spirit what to say and do! The Lord is healing my heart of the past hurts and the death of 3 of my babies! And Amelia to you, YOU ARE NOT THE PRODUCT of your parents. Regardless of the choice that your parents made, YOU DIDN’T BREAK up the two families!!! You cannot carry that upon yourself any more!!!! You are the RIGHTEOUS OF GOD BY FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS!!! YOU, AMELIA, ARE FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE!!!!!! God chose you just like Esther for such a time as this!!!! By you sharing your testimony today, you’ve helped me to release my hurts and to let you know that we all have made drastic mistakes in our lives. But don’t take on no more that lie from satan!!!! AMELIA, and TO ALL OF GOD’S DAUGHTERS, my sisters, YOU ARE GOD’S BELOVED!!!!!!!!!!! And thank YOU LORD for using Lysa TerKeurst as the catalysts for all of us to confess and pray for one another that we may heal according to Your Word!!!!!!

      • Alisha, thank you so much for your post. I am crying a river of tears over some of the pain you shared how it mirrors me. God is bringing me healing because of what you shared. Hugs to you…

      • Alisha, I just read your reply this morning, and I cried tears of appreciation and love. I have often thought about how my birth affected me, but I have not always thought about how brave my mom had to be when facing all of my grandparents (I have a lot!) and extended family. She had to relive her sin over and over and over. I am sorry for the shame others made you feel. You are a gift from God.

        When I was young, my mom was pretty hateful toward me. We were very, very poor, and I was an excellent student – valedictorian of my class and received a full ride to college. I used to think she was jealous. I think she was weary of the way my presence made her feel. A reminder of a huge mistake. I worked so hard to “get out” of my beginnings. I just wanted to be as far away from it as possible. As I have grown and had children of my own – and have certainly sinned, over and over and over, I know that she was just doing her best. She may have felt shame, but she didn’t have a relationship with Jesus to rest in, and I feel so sad for her. I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and I believe God is using my beginnings to help others. I was recently called by Him to volunteer with at-risk teens. It is so hard, and in so many ways it takes me back to a very painful place, but I can see the beauty from ashes in the work I am doing.

        Oh, sister, you are amazing. Your heart is for God, and your words and testimony have brought me such light and inspiration today. By the way, my mom and I have found a lovely place with one another – a place of peace, love and forgiveness. I know that some members of my families still consider me a painful reminder, but my late father used to always tell me that I was an incredibly miracle from God. He and my mom spent one night together. One night. And I was conceived and born. He always said, “God put you here for a reason, kid. Don’t let anyone tell you different.” Your encouragement is an awesome reminder of his. I am praying for you, sweet friend, that you will just continue to be an awesome light for others as you have been for me today. THANK YOU! And, God bless you!

        • Also, Alisha, I am so sorry for your losses. I am crying for and with you, friend. Much love, A.

  3. This is so true. I become very irritated when people respond to a serious illness diagnosis or tragedy by saying things like “it’s not for us to understand God’s plan” or “let’s pray that it brings him closer to God”. Of course those things are true but it is not what the person wants to hear in their moment of suffering.

  4. Thank you for this devotion. I was just telling my husband a bit ago that I feel tired of having to put on a happy face at church pretending everything is ok in my life. Everything moves to fast and I don’t have time to really talk to anyone about these serious life issues I’m dealing with and to make matters worse, I don’t know that there is anyone trustworthy. I walk around with a deeply shattered heart everyday with the life my daughter has chosen. I’m filled with shame and want to just hide. Yes, I believe that sometimes we just need to cry and have someone to share our grief with us. The load feels unbearable at times that I just need to cry on my Father’s lap. And I ask the question, “Lord, you found us worthy to go through this?” My mind cannot comprehend how to even deal with it but I continue to hold on to Jesus one tear at a time. I need prayer.

    • Praying for you and your daughter, Angela. I have difficulty connecting with women at church – I know what you are talking about in that things are so scheduled and there is never enough time to connect with anyone, as well as the trust issue. I’m a fairly private person and don’t want to confide in the wrong person or group … Praying for both of us to meet the right people, and for your daughter especially.

      • It is heartbreaking to me that you have trouble finding someone you feel comfortable enough with to ask for help, especially within the church. I feel that church family should be a no brainer regarding comfort with being vulnerable and raw when needed. I am so sorry that you both are having that experience. I wish I could meet for coffee or something and lend a listening ear for you! I will pray that you will find that special someone that you feel comfortable with and also that God gives you peace while you wait.

      • Father, You are a good Father. I lift up Kelly and Nicole to Your Father’s trustworthy arms. Lord Jesus, I pray we all would recognize and believe we are Your friend. When people around us fail us, You will never leave us or forsake us. You are a friend to the friendless. Blessed are the those the world is oblivious to. When well-meaning “church” acquaintances offer words of encouragement, may we see through them to Christ standing behind them. Help us to hear His voice of truth through the words of people. Unite your daughters into a true a abiding sisterhood, always seeking Your face. Amen.

  5. Finish your story. Tell us what happened. Engagw with the analysts that read tour half told testimonies…

  6. Praying for you Angela. So sorry for your sadness. What a beautiful illustration of crying on God’s lap, only He can truly know what we are going through, human connection is also healing though, so I invite you to share more or find a group to get some support. You need love and compassion and I pray God will bring people into your life you can trust and be vulnerable with.

  7. Wow, this is something that I have been thinking about for a while. My mom died four months ago and I can relate to all the questions and thoughts. What I found amazing was the fact that I openly spoke about what happened and being honest with myself and others about how painful and cold death is. Having so many questions and only getting answers as time passes.The pain is real and being true to what had happened, facing the reality and then gaining the strength through God’s infinite guidance and grace daily.

    Thank you for the reminder that we can be placed in messy realities more than we would want.

  8. Emmaline Russell says:

    Thankyou for this devotion today. My 18 month old son died 8 years ago. I heard a lot of ‘it was his time’ and ‘grieve while the kids are asleep'(as if I could turn it on and off) by well meaning christian friends who cared.

    But to this day that trauma has haunted me and had dramatic flow on effects for not just me but my husband and other kids too. All because I did not have the space or resources to deal with it.
    Your comment about how those well meaning statements “took the shards of my grief and twisted them even more deeply into my already broken heart” resonated deeply with me.

    Thankyou so much for sharing your rawness in this. Your encouragement that some things in life are just messy and can’t be packaged into a tidily wrapped statement, and about letting the awful stuff just be awful etc is healing for me.

    Thank you!

  9. This could not have come at a more perfect time! Just tonight I was about to give my cousin a scripture that I thought she needed to hear. She lost her son in a car accident. And she is hurting so badly. But I just felt in my spirit now was not the time to share it.
    Thank you so much for sharing your heart and helping me to help others.

    • Job’s friends were a comfort while they sat silently with him in his grief. When they started talking, they added to his pain. Kudos to you for recognizing the value of silence.

      Perhaps the Scripture is for you and for right now. In your silence, you can pray the content of that Scripture into your cousin’s life.

      Lord, fill Nancy and her cousin with your peace that passes understanding. Amen.

  10. Elaine ledlow says:

    In some awful situations I often hug and weep with my friend and let them know I am always ready to listen or just sit and hold their hand. Thanks for reminding us to follow Christ’s lead. When my own mother passed i recieved a pound of coffee and a nite that said , when you’re ready. Simple but so nice to know she wasn’t asking just letting me know she was there.

  11. I recently lost my Dad…I wasn’t sure if the grief process was “normal”…but this spoke volumes for me! Thank you! Today, I will look beyond my own grief to see if there are others that I am able to reach out to. God is good!

  12. Thank you for this. I love all your encouragement emails but this takes the cake. I could totally relate as even before you referenced your sister’s tragic death, I was thinking of my own sister’s death and her tragic life of addiction and the things well intentioned people said that hurt. There is a time to weep and mourn and providing that space sometimes is the most Christian thing we can do for others. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insights.

  13. Thank you for this devotion. Many times I have been glib about spouting ‘Christian’ clichés when friends and loved ones lose someone dear to them. I think I need to say something! so I rely on what I have heard others say in similar times. May God touch all our hearts to know what to say , when and how to say it in times of grief or loss or just to plain keep quiet!

  14. Thank you for this! I’m currently struggling through carrying a baby to term who has a fatal diagnosis. I’m not sure how many times people have told me “God has a plan” or “God still performs miracles” over these past few months. I have to say that these comments upset me far more than they help. I was most likely guilty of saying these things before but I guarantee after this, it won’t happen!

  15. Thank you for that. Your words really touched my heart. Sometimes all we can say is, “I’m here. I love you. I’m so sorry this is happening. I’m so sorry you are hurting.” When I read the Scripture you referenced from Proverbs 15:23, I read, “A person finds joy in giving an ANT response.” LOL! But there is such truth in that!

  16. Grief.
    Tears.
    Time.
    Action.
    Jesus ,who calls us friend, once again shows us the way, the truth and the light.
    Amen.

  17. Carleen Denis says:

    I related so deeply with your article. I fee years ago I suffered a miscarriage and the most painful words were said to me by my pastors and elders. “God knew best, it was not part of his plan, you can always try again, God does not hive more than we can bear” Every word frlt like a dagger going through my heart. Why couldn’t anyone be real and meet me in my pain. Why did they think they had to explain my reality with Godly soundbites! Thank you for a new perspective.

    • Carleen, I heard the same things!!!!!!!! But just so you know for your future baby or babies stand on Isaiah 66:9 and Psalm 139:13!!! I and my sister have gone through 3 miscarriages a piece, a total of 6 babies that died in the womb!!!!!! Satan is the enemy of our babies in the womb! But, in the name of JESUS, WE will stand upon the Word of God, and satan has to flee!!!!!!! I will remember you in prayer and may God, Our Father, bless you and may your latter rain be greater than your former and the LORD GOD give you beauty for your ashes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Carleen Denis says:

    I related so deeply with your article. I few years ago I suffered a miscarriage and the most painful words were said to me by my pastors and elders. “God knew best, it was not part of his plan, you can always try again, God does not give more than we can bear” Every word hit like a dagger going through my heart. Why couldn’t anyone be real and meet me in my pain. Why did they think they had to explain my reality with Godly soundbites! Thank you for a new perspective.

  19. Michelle says:

    Thank you for this devotional, being a newish Christian you wonder about these things. This gives me a reminder that hopefully the Holy Spirit will remind me of when those circumstances present themselves in my life. I’m so sorry to hear of yours and others losses 🙁

  20. Very convicting for I have been “them!”
    Desperately wanting to comfort we end up on the other side often. Thanks.

  21. Betty Randolph says:

    Thank you! We are dealing with flooding and the loss of everything my daughter and her family owned. We lost a house(thank the Lord no was living there at the time) and I have felt guilty for saying it doesn’t make sense th. Water so powerfully that a 1000plus square foot house with stuff in could be totally gone without a trace. Or that my daughters trailer had over 5 feet of water in it and my poor grandchildren are morning the loss of everything they had. My stand words are “God is in control” is now ” God is in control, yet why?”.

  22. Thank you Lysa for such a honest devotion. When I don’t know what to pray I immediately think of Romans 8:26. I relied on this verse years ago during my separation and divorce….and have continued to use it since then for other situations. The only thing I’ve learned to say is “I will keep you in my prayers”. ~Lisa~

  23. allison says:

    i hate ants is the right answer.Do you know why? bc sometimes life can suck. God knows it can suck and He’s honest about it. When Christians try to gloss over the ‘suckiness’ of life its not being real. God is real about our sorry

  24. allison says:

    sorrow

  25. I always love your writing Lysa. You are such an inspiration to me. I’m so thankful to P31 and for all Lysa’s books. The online bible studies, the talks on the radio, etc. Keep being a light in this dark fallen world. God bless you all.

    Kati

  26. Stacie Pegram says:

    I recently lost my mother who passed unexpectedly in her sleep. This really helped. She was my last living parent and unlike my fathers death, which was no easy by any means and she had not been sick like he was. I have found grieving this time to more difficult. Thank you.

  27. Michelle says:

    Hi Lysa,

    Thanks this was a great devotional.

    I would like to share some thoughts with you.
    I personally don’t believe people go to heaven when they die, this is because God does not need anymore angels, he has plenty.
    But I believe when Jesus comes again, the dead in Christ will rise up first according to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16 and also Ecclesiastes 9:5,10 also speaks to the point that there is no life after death, untl the great resurrection day.

    Thanks,
    Michelle

    • Thanks Michelle for bringing this out. The Bible talks about death as sleep, the dead sleep until Jesus’ second coming. If you think about it, why would we cry when our loved ones die if they go to heaven and watch over us? Thanks Lysa for such a timely devotional, in times when you don’t know what to say, silence is golden.

  28. Such truth. Having been through serious losses I have come to a point where I have realized just giving people Jesus is all the healing balm needed.

  29. Cindy M says:

    We just buried my Mom 2 days ago. Today we close on my childhood home place where she lived. So difficult!!! Woke up at 1 am crying. Tears of hurt, sadness, and so many memories coming out. Thank you.

  30. What a great reminder that it’s not ungodly, but human, to give a non-Christian comment in times of hurt and grief. I’m part of the ministry at our church that serves at funerals and sometimes I’m at a loss for ‘Christian’ words when talking to those attending the funeral. However, as you point out, that doesn’t need to be the case.
    Thank you. Diane

  31. Heather says:

    Love this post! Not only have I said stupid, contrite things but I have also been on the receiving end of them.
    When I had a miscarriage I got so tired of hearing, “it’s probably for the best, there was probably something wrong with the baby” or “you can have more kids”. Then when we struggled to get pregnant again it was, “don’t worry, God’s timing is perfect”.
    I cringe when I think of the stupid things I have said. A friend of ours lost their 3 month old after 7 years of trying to get pregnant. At the funeral I said through tears, “I hate this for you guys”. The dad said to me, “how do you think we feel?”. I think saying, “I hate ants” would have been more compassionate.

  32. My daughter almost died a few months ago and is still having complications and it’s scary. Sometimes I want to hide just to not have to make small talk conversation one more time or have the look of pity or a million questions. Church can be hard when you aregoing through something like that and it’s the one place we desperately need to be. I try to have grace and understanding. And I hope I’m learning a thing or two on how to be there for others in an appropriate way. Thanks for your word today. The Lazarus scripture has always been one of my favorites. Jesus can relate to every Earthly feeling. He’s the best 🙂

  33. Vickie Mullins says:

    Thank Lysa this is so true. I believe people mean well but they dont think before they speak.. God is Good..

  34. Mary in NH says:

    As a Christian, I’ve prayed for miracles where one doesn’t seem possible, and been angry with God for not coming through. On more than one occasion I’ve told a friend, a grieving widow, that “this sucks” upon learning of her husband’s death. Sometimes honesty is needed, my comments never seem unwelcomed. Life can be very harsh.

  35. Well said.

  36. I’m so sorry for you and your family’s loss Lysa. Yes, I hate death. I don’t understand why she had to go so soon. As a physician I’m sad to hear that it was a result of a physician’s mistake. Every day and often at night I think about and wrestle with how best I can treat and care for my patients. I thank God for the opportunity to love His people with my knowledge and skills but it comes with a lot of responsibility. I know I’m not perfect and God is ultimately the great physician, able to heal and restore. Every day we are trying to improve our system to make sure there are system processes in place to Not allow these things to happen. Thank you for sharing and encouraging me that our efforts are not in vain.

  37. Thank you for your beautiful honesty. What wise and loving advice for us all.

  38. Thank you so much for these words. We found out two nights ago that our oldest daughter is 6 weeks pregnant & will be getting married in 2 months. No, it’s not the end of the world and yes it’s going to be ok. BUT we’re still grieving a bit. Marriage is hard & starting with a baby is even harder. We’re thrilled they both love Jesus and are committed to each other & their new family but we’re still sad over the circumstances. I’m thankful for the friends who understand where I’m coming from and are not trying to make me feel guilty over my sadness. Babies are a blessing & we will love this baby fiercely. But Sometimes you just need someone to say I’m sad for you and I’m here. Thank you again & I pray I stop doing the same thing.

  39. Lysa,
    Thank you so much for sharing this devotion. My husband suffered a massive stroke last year & I don’t know how many times well meaning friends & even family have said to me “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”
    I have never wanted to slap someone but the more i heard that statement I was ready to take a swing…. Thank you I related to this devotion….

    • I hate it when I hear that “God won’t give us more than we can handle” line. The death of a child, illness, violence, war, destruction… these things were not in God’s plan and they cause Him pain & grief. We were created to live in harmony with God and each other. And even when God does test us, He tests our faith in HIM to handle the burdens of our lives. Of course some situations are more than WE can handle… or there would be no use for faith. I heard this sentiment over and over again when my first son died, and decades later when life dealt our family some ugly cards; but by then I had learned to say, in love, that life often hands us more than we can take, but never more than God can manage if we just give it over to Him. Some people got it, some just looked confused, but my heart stayed focused on the source of grace & strength.

  40. By far, Lysa, the best devotional I have read thus far on this site. I have been a believer for 65 years, but the words “well meaning” believers give as “comfort” often make me want to throw up! We have an impossible situation in our family that God Almighty is the ONLY one who can make any sense of it. You have nailed it!
    Saying, “I Care, I hurt with you, this breaks my heart for you,” THESE are the statements that are genuine
    and see us through indescribable grief and perplexity. Thanks, Lysa, for being REAL!

  41. kathy wyg says:

    Good morning…ladies……there were actually several lines/sentences that I feel really describes what our country is in the midst of & going thru & it is ugly…thank you for
    Pointing that out…I keep on hoping God is going to fix this mess…now…& show them
    The error of their ways….but obviously in God’s time…& I am not good w/patience…

    Have a blessed day……….Kathy wyg

  42. Michele says:

    This is one of the most real and important devotions I’ve read. I’ve been that person spouting God’s truth when maybe I should have been hugging instead. I hate ants- perfect reminder of this lesson. Thank you.

  43. Terrie Veal says:

    I read this post this morning as we prepare for a funeral of a vibrant, beautiful and precious 14 year old little girl that we tragically lost this week. Today would be Emily’s 15th birthday. Sometimes, there are well meaning comments from others that truly don’t know what else to say. It is best to remain silent and give hugs to those in so much pain. Let them feel the love of our Lord through your embrace!
    Prayers for Doug and Sherri as they continue on this life changing journey and the very painful days to come.
    We love you!

  44. Right on the mark, Lysa! If only everyone could read and absorb this when they are responding to a tragic situation. When someone makes glib, canned remarks about God that are definitely NOT Spirit-led, it only makes the hearer want to run the other way, when they should be running towards Jesus, who is our only hope for peace.

  45. Nobody really wants to”bear” with one another. That takes a lot of effort and connection and maybe some hurt for yourself along the way too. I have a deep hurt at this moment. My beautiful daughter is telling us she may be gay, pan-sexual, bi-sexual or something. Nobody talks about the pain that comes with that………

  46. Great article. It is important to remember that our circumstances on Earth have nothing to do with how God feels about us. (See John the Baptist, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, etc). My favorite “Christian” line is, “God will never put you through more than you can stand up to”, which is a misquote of the temptation verse, 1 Corinthians 10:13. God will never leave or forsake you, but as a friend of mine will say, “God will break you down like a double barrel shotgun”. God will take you to the brink of despair to bring you closer to him. He allows this so that we focus on him. See the Apostle Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 1:8 about his despair. God WILL allow us to go through more than we can endure, so that we turn to HIM.

  47. Thank you for this post. I have sometimes felt guilty and “less spiritual” when, in the middle of something quite tragic, Christians will just hand you a verse to remember…or behave as those death shouldn’t be grieved because we know we will see someone again. I have been bitter in my soul at times from loss, and then felt guilt on top of it. It has taken some years in this walk called Christianity to understand that people aren’t being cruel…but sometimes your faith takes you to a place no one can go with you…so you can be with THE ONE who can heal you. Praise God for that…and for this post that admits that sometimes that pat, “canned answer” isn’t the one I need.

  48. I don’t know how to respond within someone else’s post; if someone could let me know how it would be greatly appreciated! This comment is in response to the devotional and to Angela. I’m sorry you’re having trouble finding someone to talk with about your pain, especially at church. I have this problem at times as well. I spoke with the pastor at our church when I felt their was no one I could talk to, as well as a counselor when we had a family crisis. The situation was so bad, I didn’t feel I could share it with friends because I was worried people would judge us. Our pastor was awesome – just loved us right where we were and prayed with my husband and I. In a sermon once, our pastor told us a story about someone who lost their infant to a sudden illness – she said sometimes love looks like just sitting with that person in their pain and crying with them. I joined a small study group at our church also, and it has been helpful in connecting me with other Christians. I have made some friends as a result. I don’t feel comfortable sharing everything, but when you connect with other Christians you seem to start from common ground that you wouldn’t necessarily find in any other setting. Our conversations are more real, and when your relationship is based in Christ, it makes such a difference. Angela, I pray that you will find someone you can talk to.

  49. Thank you so much for this devotion, Lysa. Even though my faith gets stronger every day I seem to cringe when someone makes a comment like you described. I don’t understand God sometimes but I trust Him. I find that saying nothing and just being there is sometimes the best way to show God’s love. It has taken a long time for me to realize this.

  50. Thank you so much,I lost my mom a few days ago.It hurts and all of a sudden the verses and songs I know so well are not making sense,yet I’m getting them all the time!

  51. Suzanne says:

    Perfectly said. I lost my oldest sister/second mom/mentor when I was 21, after she struggled for years to beat cancer. I still remember my best friend saying to me “this may sound awful, but I’m glad it wasn’t you” (even as she had loved my sister too). True words spoken from her heart that lifted me up.

    I am now gong through a divorce after a 26-year marriage and when I tell someone I feel abandoned by friends and family, I hear reasoning like “they don’t know what to say.” I could take silence (just be here for me), but being ignored hurts.

  52. Thank you, Lysa, for being bold and telling it like it is. Very well done. Thanks for daring to speak truth.
    Thanks for the simple words, “Jesus wept.” HE is our comfort. We are just His earthly hands.

  53. I think people say things sometimes more to reassure themselves than help. I have always found these sound bites incredibly insensitive.
    I have a cousin who was so deeply hurt recently by the shooting in Fl. that he took to FB to blame Christians. Some Christians immediately got defensive and spouted off comments back to him. I prayed, I took some time, I watched the post get out of hand, and finally God gave me words for him. Words of empathy, understanding, and kindness. If I hadn’t taken the time to pray, ask for wisdom, and wait, I think I would have just added fuel to the fire. The change in his responses after my post was my answered prayer.
    We can not use our book smarts, Bible references, etc. to understand the human experience. God made us in his likeness, but we are not God, we are human. Humanity is what we do and who we are. And, it is a gift we should use to help others.

  54. Melinda says:

    When I was in college, my boyfriend and I were hit by a drunk driver. My boyfriend died from his injuries and I lost teeth and had broken bones and cuts. Laying in the hospital bed, a dear friend said, “It was God’s will.” I wanted to scream! I hear people say that all the time in dire situations….stop it!!! Why on earth would God “will” that kind of pain on his children? Would our earthly Fathers? Of course not.

  55. Deep down we just want people to understand how we are feeling. Sometimes it’s better to simply hug someone and not say a word in times of grief.
    But there are times we need to speak up and ‘tell it like it is’ especially as Christians living in a fallen world and seeing the evil that is going on in our country and in our government. I used to think it was stupidity, but now I recognize it for what it is…evil. Oh that the Christians would turn to God.
    2 Chronicles: 7:14 – Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

  56. Mary Meyer says:

    Hi Lisa, Although I understand exactly where you are coming from, realize that “good” comments and “bad” comments all have their purpose. What we glean from them, as you have, helps us to realize that we are all not equipped to perfectly be comforted in our grief by anyone other that God Himself, and that’s always where He wants us to go first. Yes, some are more or less comforting than others and some always seem to say the “perfect” and most comforting thing but many of us are very challenged in finding the “right” words but always know the heartfelt compassion is the same as those that have the “right” words even if the verbal expression doesn’t depict exactly that. To me I am so blessed by anyone who even makes the effort. It is so hard…so let’s give them that and not let satan turn it into something that it is not. I love Proverbs 31 Ministries and am thankful for everyone’s contributions.

  57. Besides your book, I have also found Kara Tippetts book, ‘Just Show Up’ to be incredibly encouraging. It shows us how to really be there for others in their time of need. When someone is hurting, I use to be really quick to throw out a Bible verse to ‘help’ them. Now I think it is just as important to do dishes, take kids to events, do laundry..and just be there.

  58. Jennifer Roden says:

    Although I have read many, many Proverbs 31 devotions and have been inspired deeply by most of them, I can’t recall a time that I have EVER felt led to post a comment. Until now.

    A few years ago my precious, special-needs son died in his sleep while I was in the very next room reading my bible and praying. I have never felt so betrayed by God as I did during that time. Added to my pain were the flippant – although well-intentioned – platitudes that came from fellow believers.

    Your words are EXACTLY what every Christian needs to hear. Sometimes we just don’t have the answers and it’s more genuine to simply admit that, than to try to explain what can’t be explained.

    God is faithful. I love Him. I can hardly wait to see Him. One day I’ll understand why my son was taken from me. Until then, it’s ok to say that life rarely makes sense; life is often painful; and in this world we will have trouble. But, take heart. He has overcome the world.

  59. Linda Fern says:

    This was the best devotion that I’ve read written by Lysa! Right on, you knocked it out of the park! This message is a keeper. Thank you!

  60. Cynthia Reimer says:

    Thank you for speaking directly to my heart and soul.

  61. Thank you Lysa for this excellent devotion today. I so agree with you. My husband had a stroke 4 years ago and it has changed our lives forever. Sadly so many Christian friends and family did not know what to say or do and so said and did things that caused more pain instead of those things that would have helped. So few people really “get” what it is you need. I have Christian siblings and they really dropped the ball and still seem unable to be there for us. It hurts. I am left in the position to keep forgiving them. I think it is best to be there for the hurting person in whatever capacity you can. It’s best to say little, to be present, to weep with the one hurting, to serve and help with all the details that need looking after. Pray like there’s no tomorrow for those hurting and just tell them you are praying. Life is sometimes very hard and when it is we need our Christian friends to stand in the gap for us.
    Thanks again Lysa for sharing honestly from your heart.

  62. THANK YOU!!
    I’ve needed to hear this from a
    NONE PERFECT Christian for a LONG TIME!
    I feel this is what has actually,
    turned my children away from the Heart of Christ….
    God BLESS YOU!

  63. Such inspirational words. Thanks Lysa. I just asked our Lord to bless everyone on this site. We are all going thru such heartbreak. I’ve learned to say ‘ I have no words of comfort, just know I’m here and praying for you’
    I’m still struggling with a devastating betrayal by my now ex. I never thought I’d be in this position at this age with a child starting over. What’s hardest is watching him live like a king … Live like a man with no heart and morals.
    I have to pray for him and the mistress and give it to God.
    Reading your devotion is another reminder we don’t know what’s going happen everyday and we dont have answers, but we do have God.

  64. Elizabeth Blake says:

    Once again Lysa you have hit the mark with your wisdom and candid down to earth statements!! I so appreciate your honesty. Thank you for being so real!!

  65. Christina says:

    This is beautiful reminder that all we need is this kind of simplicity and genuineness to connect with people in a very deep way.

  66. Thank you for today’s devotion.
    There is a lot of truth in this as I sit here typing my little girl ranaway 2 days ago and I still can’t find her. I haven’t told a lot of people because your right sometimes people just don’t know what to say and it hurts sometimes when you want them to say what you want to hear and then they say something totally different. I just ask them to pray. I have set a prayer chain out so can you please pray for my little girl, she is 15 years old and she ran away Tuesday, June 26, 2016. Her name is Alice. I had some leads yesterday and was out looking for her after work til 10:30 last night. Some people saw her but had they said something the first night I asked them, she would have been home by now but they chose not tell me so she is still out there. Your devotions are always right on and its good to know or be reminded that Jesus did feel exactly what we felt or feel today because he was Human. Thank you for your time, prayer and devotion(s). Please pray for my daughter to be found. My email address is: katjcamacho@gmail.com

    God Bless,
    Katheryn

  67. Julia Bettis says:

    This was so excellent! Thank you for being brave enough to say what so many Christians need to hear! Sometimes it is best just to come alongside and bear each others burdens rather than try to explain human trauma! Thank you, Lisa!

  68. Doreen Mapstone says:

    Thank you. This year has been so hard. I lost my Mom, my husband lost his job and found a new one thousands of miles away. I live a life of contradictions right now. Missing Mom and missing friends, looking around a new home wondering if I will ever get it put all together, mourning and rejoicing at the same time. My husband found a better job. Our new neighbors already introduced themselves. This home is lovely and only made possible because of Moms life insurance, but I am missing her and my old friends and I needed to remember that even though Jesus was going to raise Lazarus, he was present in the sadness and did not expect his friends to be done with their grief.

  69. Grace Ortiz says:

    Lisa I thank God for you , you always have the right subject to talk about
    This Is don’t give me a Christian answer is so real .we don’t have all answers to give to hurting people,honesty is the best,they need to know that!

  70. What a good, good message. I’ve been on both sides of this situation. When my parents passed and when I lost a baby, people said some well-meaning stuff. And I am sure I have probably said crazy stuff trying to comfort a friend or two. It’s good to know that either way – on the receiving end or the giving end – God is there is carry you through.

  71. It’s odd that we focus on the Jesus wept line in the bible and say that he was so much like us or he understands, because after he wept, he brought him back from the dead. This is something we cannot do. Our loved ones are gone and we grieve for months and years. He was so much like us and at the same time not like us at all.

  72. Oh how my heart crinkled when I read about the pain you felt in the loss of your sister – I’m truly sorry. The pain of loss is familiar though I never lost a sibling. Even having experienced my share of people dying, I still struggle with “what I should say”… I have many nonchristian friends who look at me when troubles come with a “we’ll explain this one, why does God allow this…” I struggle with those questions myself sometimes and certainly don’t have a good “Christian” answer for them. I appreciate your words so much as they are a bit freeing. Thank you.

  73. A resounding AMEN to this post. While I firmly believe God allows all things for a reason I now understand, through my mother’s death 2 years ago and a major accident and life issue, that sometimes you just need to feel the struggle and work through it.

    My heart aches for those that don’t have someone they can just talk to and my heart rejoices that I am blessed with a couple friends who have been right there with me and simply allowed me to feel and cry and only offer “advice” when I asked for it …. Which is when I was ready for it.

    Thank you, Lysa, for this perfectly timed devotion. And bless the little girl who hated ants. 🙂

  74. Lensey M. says:

    I love this. Every word of it. Thank you so much for sharing! I always struggle with what to say when a friend or loved one is grieving. I know the “Christian answers” that so many use can seem so heartless when someone’s heart is breaking. I try to avoid them, but sometimes they slip out. It’s nice to know that sometimes all you have to do is just be with the grieving person-just be present in that moment. Words aren’t always necessary. Thank you so much for sharing your own personal story as well.

  75. Thank you for this article. My mom was killed by my dad..afterwards there was much “fallout”. Some days I thought I was losing my mind….while very publicly grieving and maneuvering all this new (to me) stuff. As a Christian and a pastor’s wive….wanted to make sure I was “doing it right” and not being a stumbling block for others. In the middle of it….God just told me to “be” and not “do”. Rest in Him. He also told me this was not going to be my life. It was just a season of it. He is the heart healer and soul lifter.

    • Kelly,
      My heart hurts for you and what you’ve been through. My sister was killed by her husband. God telling you to “be” is so like God. To get us to just be still and to realize who he is. In my worst times when I’d was being tormented by what she must have endured those last moments, God whispered to me, “Anne, I was with her.” And that gave me such peace. More peace than anything else could. We never did recover her body and even when we went to court 20 some years after the crime and he was found not guilty, I still had peace. I will NOT understand with my finite mind the atrocities in this life, but God who is infinite knows.

  76. Oh my goodness!! Thank you for this message. Our son was killed in a car accident many years ago. Time passes and liked goes on but the pain and shear missing him and who he’d be today never goes away. He always shared that the shortest verse in the bible is “Jesus wept”. I held onto that message, thought, our sons words throughout the years of his funeral and to this day. The understanding that Jesus was crying with me was such a comfort. We were told what you were about Heaven needing another angel and he’s in a better place. My Lord wouldn’t plan for our son to die that way. Losing someone too young and senselessly is like a scar. It hurts so much when it happens but the severe pain fades but the scar never goes away. We don’t forget but we always remember Jesus wept. Blessings to you and I’m sorry for your loss.

  77. Sandra Davis says:

    Sometimes others just don’t know what to say. They should probably be quiet and stand by. But some ‘need’ to share and say things that the hurting deem unloving or inappropriate. Love them for trying. They don’t mean to hurt anyone.

  78. Thank you for your heartfelt post. I appreciate all your words and I too cringe when I’ve heard the things some will say to those who are hurting. I choose to believe it’s just because they don’t know what to say, or they want the person to move on, but the best gift we can give is to just be there with the hurting person. We recently lost our 14 month old granddaughter. And the thing that spoke the most to my son and his wife at that time was just being in it with them.

  79. Like many others, this was something I need to hear today. Six years ago, my three year old daughter was diagnosed with moyamoya after a series of strokes. After two brain surgeries, she suffered a massive stroke that forever set my life on a different path. She now requires 24 hour nursing. So often through the years people have used some of those phrases that I’m assuming they think will help not realizing it only angers me. I also suffer from depression and at times it’s almost debilitating. I love my family but the responses I get truly frustrate me. Like I’m suffering depression because I’m not reading the Bible or praying enough. It couldn’t be because it is a truly horrible mental illness, and their advice, it only makes me feel worse. Like I’m to blame for my depression. Unfortunately, because of all these circumstances, it has only served to push me farther away from God and the church. I don’t think it was God’s plan for my daughter to have six strokes and end up how she is because, if that is so, it would make for one cruel God. I don’t believe that “God only gives is what we can handle” that’s a line I particularly loath. To me, it implies that God is up above choosing who should go through trials and choosing just how much he thinks they can handle before they break. I think people mean well, but a simple hug or an offer to simply be with me, maybe an invitation to get out of the house, would go so much farther in helping.

  80. Margaret Dailey says:

    This devo really gave me some insight on how I can be a better, more compassionate and empathetic comfort to people who are faced with different kinds of pain, trials, and tribulations. I was able to walk through your experience as I read your thoughts. You put the icing on the cake when you ended it with that prayer and the scriptures. I’d like to add Matthew 5:4 which says that it’s a blessing to mourn cause we will be comforted. At the time of our grief, we can’t or don’t want to even think of being blessed and feeling the pain and emptiness that we feel, but if we reach back and remind ourselves that God’s “Steadfast love NEVER ceases. His mercies NEVER COME to an end. They are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23), we will find peace in EVERY situation. Why? Because “His grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:9). I pray that we will all let “The peace of God which surpasses ALL understanding comfort us” (Philippians 4:7) when the time comes. God bless!

  81. Life. Every time. You speak life to me. Thank you.

  82. Sally Ann Price says:

    Thanks! I really enjoyed reading this. It meant so much.

  83. Margaret Dailey says:

    Lisa, please forgive me for not expressing my heartfelt condolences to you and your family in the loss of your sister. You and your family are in my prayers. God bless!

  84. Being a parent is the toughest job in the world, not sure why it never tops “The Lists”. When children are little we kiss the boo-boos and make them feel better. But when they grow up and they are hurting over their own child, as a parent there is nothing that can be done to kiss that pain away. And to see your children hurting and knowing there is not one thing you can do to make it stop hurting, is the worst pain in the world. Our first grandchild, Libby, was born with severe brain damage. She has wonderful parents.
    I love the story behind Jesus weeping. When his friends were mourning the death of Lazarus, He could have given them the Jesus answer: “Hey, don’t cry, he will be alive again.” But instead he wept with them, from what I understand not just crying, but moaning and groaning in grief. He was God. He knew the outcome. But instead He showed compassion to His friends and grieved with them. He also cares about us, and our sorrows. We also have the Holy Spirit who in Romans 8:26, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
    That’s a lot of groaning, for us and with us.

  85. Lysa, you never disappoint! Having had a horrible family tragedy, I understand today’s devotion first hand.
    The bottom line is while going through difficult times, our friends are trying desperately to do or say something
    to help us. I have found that my best foot forward in helping friends in grief is to simply hold on tight,
    weep with them, and love them by seeing to their physical needs quietly and promptly.
    Your devotions are filled with such wisdom, I always can’t wait to read what them. Thank you so much
    always for sharing your wisdom.

  86. Tom Evans says:

    Thank you for this…as a lost sheep who has recently been found your words resonate to me more than they ever would have before…and I will keep them in mind when tough times come around (as they surely will), and will definitely take to heart your advice at the end…I too am one acquainted with grief…

  87. Lysa,
    Your writings are penetrating to the depths of my heart. Thank you for allowing God to use you in a mighty way that touches so many people.

  88. Tina Joyce says:

    Amen and I completely agree!

  89. Peggy Romine says:

    This has been a struggle of mine for years. I have been a Christian since I was 9 years old. It was simple in the early years. What you refer to here is what I have called “pat answers”. I just didn’t want to hear them many times. My son had a stroke 7 years ago and has lived with us for 6 years. He is disabled with an excellent mind. He is now 46, I am 77 and my husband is 80. Life is wonderful but not always easy. Your article spoke to my heart so vividly today. Thank you. I love and look forward to the Proverbs woman everyday. God bless you.

  90. Thank you for sharing this.

    My heart has been broken by my twin brother’s suicide a few months ago. Last week I shared in a Sunday school class on pain and suffering that I felt like I was not only grieving but in battle for my own life/faith. A woman who I attended church with but had never been close friends with called me out in front of everyone and started quoting scriptures and giving advice. As soon as class was over she bee lined to me again to further enlighten me. The hardest part was she has said nothing in the past couple of months concerning this great loss in my life and there has been no depth of friendship for this type of conversation. I quickly realized how foolish I was to be so real in that setting. What a great lesson to be so careful not to do the same to others, and I was given the opportunity to pray for someone who I was appalled by.

    Two other things I have learned so far is to pray a hedge of protection about those who are going thru great trials as they are vulnerable for attacks. Satan is the father of all lies and he seeks to kill steal and destroy. We battle not against flesh and blood but principalities of darkness. I never realized the magnitude of this as it is not something I often think about. Well at least not until lately. I think back to all the stupid things I have said, the prayers I should have prayed, the cards I should have sent. I know my heart is still very broken but I will not let my brother’s death be in vain. I am praying that God will get me thru this and the things I am being thought will be used for God’s glory and the encouragement of others. Satan may have won a battle but will not win the war.

  91. Jo Ellen says:

    There is a book called, “Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart,” and it’s about this very subject.

    We lost our son to suicide 7 years ago and people try so hard but the person who stands out the most to me is the church member who sat at our home all day and hardly said a word. Just seeing him there continues to bless my heart.

  92. I just lost The Love of my Life. We didn’t have enough time together. I’ve felt like God took him before his time. Can’t say much it upset me and tears won’t stop. I’m having a autopsy on him still hasn’t come back! I Need PRAYERS PLEASE! I feel he won’t rest in peace if . Can’t say anything else.

  93. I read an article several years ago that included an excerpt from a book on walking beside a family member or a friend who is grieving. I don’t remember the author or the book but this message has stuck with me. Here is how the author summed it up for us: hang around, hug, and hush. Good advice!

  94. Evie Lyon says:

    Yes! Just yes. The comments people feel they have to make are so unnecessary and so unintentionally hurtful. When my son died, handling those comments gracefully was the hardest thing I have ever learned to do.

  95. Lysa, you always hit a chord with your writings. This helped me in knowing that when I don’t know what to say–then be quiet and just be there for that person. I still have both of my parents (ages 91& 88) and all of my brothers and sisters, my husband and children. I have no experience in the grief that will come when I lose one of them. Thank you for your teaching, so I know it’s ok to be silent and just be there.

  96. My husband recently filed for divorce. The first thing out of my MIL’s mouth was “You know, you can never get married again.”. Talk about a knife in the heart! I have been learning to be still in my relationship with my husband – not everything needs to be said. I need to let God take the lead. I am also learning with how well meaning people speak to me, that sometimes I just need to be still. God doesn’t need me to do His speaking for him. Thank you for this devotional. Speaks volumes!!

  97. So well said! Thank you! Sometimes you don’t know what to say because there is a mix of emotions running wild inside. Not saying a word but being present means alot! God will do the rest.

  98. How timely! My sister is having surgery today, and I felt God nudging me to do something for her, as there are no words to calm her worries(although I have been praying for her to have peace of mind). Last night I made her family a meal that I make which they all love, and took it over to their home this morning, so they have it tonight. I felt like at least my sister won’t have to worry about her family eating. It’s a small thing, but it’s from the heart.

  99. Lysa, this was great. Thank you for writing and sharing.

  100. Just what I needed to read. I was thinking yesterday that Jesus never had the feelings I do. But maybe I need to look a little closer. My daughter is severely autistic developmentally 12 months at the age of 8. I can’t go into details but the amount of grief is ever present. To live always in a prison of my own home. To wonder where Gods grace and mercy is. To never be able to look at the future with hope. It’s An awful life I have been granted and even for my other children. I can’t stand when people say “your a special person and God wouldn’t have given you her if you were not.” Or “this is Gods plan”. My favorite “God won’t give you more than you can handle”. I get the hearts of these people are to make me feel better. What’s worse is churches focus so much on the poor or people who lack. But the families with special needs kids or adults are the ones who are left in the dark. They have no support from the church and usually can never attend church. We are the ones who need to lean on God the most and yet we are left in The dark. Thank you for the wonderful reminder that Jesus felt emotions and that we are not alone.

  101. I do not know if Angela will see this but wanted her to know about something that may help. Joyce Meyers was speaking about something Angela is dealing with on her program on Wednesday of this week. You can download her app and listen. Maybe this will help you.

  102. Today is my grandson’s 6th birthday & I haven’t seen him for over 2 yrs. CPS took him & his sister away from my daughter 3 1/2 yrs ago. Her father & his wife adopted them. His wife won’t let us see them. She thinks that denying the real parents exist, have problems of their own, but totally love their children is a bad thing for the kids to know. My daughter is now clean & sober & off the streets living w/me. She is in a program but not an in-patient one because our area doesn’t have a dual-diagnosis facility – the others are not (in my opinion) safe for her. She is finally doing well, off the streets & away from bad influences, dealing w/her problems. But we can’t see her kids. It’s really hard & angering. God has a plan & there is a reason for this & everything has a season, etc is not helping,. My family has been torn apart & we are grieving & I am afraid this puts her at risk. Her father allowing his wife to have authority over everything has negatively impacted every aspect of our lives. It is really hard for me to pray for them and not be bitter. Please pray for us.

  103. Oh, that every well-meaning Christ follower would read this. Sometimes I have cringed at church services thinking, the unsaved will not cozy up to these words. Church words won’t reach the un-churched. Jesus wept. Jesus wept because we weep. He always meets us where we are. There is nothing more beautiful.

  104. SARETA DELGADO says:

    ME TOO! This says it perfect. I lost my husband to cancer a year ago this past May. I’m a Bible college graduate so I am quite aware of the comfort scriptures etc. but I just wanted to punch people in the face that said he’s in a better place, or at least he’s no longer in pain etc. My heart still hurts and so I confide in one or two that can related because if I share with others I’m either dwelling or should remember the joy of the Lord is my strength. Again, I KNOW ALL THIS… but my world has changed and I’m still getting used to it… you went back to your normal so forgive me for still hurting while trying to adjust to mine. THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS…

  105. A hug, a smile, or a tear can often speak helpful volumes.

  106. Jeanette says:

    Thank you for posting this. I, too, have had several tragic events in my life and some comments from well-meaning people only closed me off more in my grief. The ‘ants’ comment made me smile and reminded me of several real-life things that were easier to deal with at the time than the terrible situation at hand. Your article touched my heart and is a good reminder of how to handle things differently when grief and tragedy strike.

  107. Thank you….yes sometimes when we go through something hard it means more when a friend just listen and allow me to shed the tears! To me that is more Christlike. It shows me God’s great mercy and love!

  108. Beautifully said Lysa! I loss my father as a teenager and I thank God for the people who came along side me! Some spoke to me, some sat in silence with me and others cried with me! How important it is to follow God’s nudging and listen for his words of comfort! May we all be reminded when comforting those who have loss some to allow God to lead you! Thank you for your beautiful writing! Blessings!

  109. Faith thomas says:

    Amen and amen!! Very well said.

  110. Thank you, thank you Lysa !!!!

    I didn’t even read the 122 responses…as you spoke to my heart and I had to let you know your work is valid, it is good and God…thank you!

  111. Jessica says:

    What an absolutely amazing group of women. I am humbled and edified by you all. Thank you Father.

  112. Wow an incredible messages.. and Jesus wept….perfect reminder for all of us as
    we minister to one another….how kind of Jesus to show us His heart when words
    could not comfort….shared it with all my friends and family….Thank you for
    all these wonderful and practical devotions on living our lives in the Lord..
    God continue to bless this ministry. Carol

  113. Nina Banks says:

    Thank you for posting this….My lovely daughter, Jodi, who posted on your site several times and now her dad, the father of my 4 children, both lost their battles with mental illness…Jodi, on 11-6-14 and now her dad on 6-21-16. We are all just devastated to have lost these 2 and no one does know what to say….I like it best when friends and family say nothing…but just stand next to me and care…

  114. Lysa, thank you very much for saying this. It was all I needed to hear today.
    Thank you for letting me know that’s ok to not have a “Christian Answer” for everything in life. Thank you for remind me that the people that try to help with such answers are just good people trying to help me and feel better, even tough I think exactly the opposite among my tears. Thank you for reminding me that God knows me, felt and understand human pain and grief. That was the best “Christian Answer” that I ever received in the middle of my problems. Jesus understands. Jesus also wept.
    May God bless you and help me to receive and also give proper answer from and to people.

  115. Michelle,
    I am the last living member of my birth family and my mother was the last one to leave us for her new heavenly home! It has been 2 years and I grieve for her everyday, she was my very best friend and I miss her but the one thing that gives me some peace is knowing she is not lying somewhere asleep waiting for Christ to return, my family members souls are with Christ now. I believe in the words of Billy Graham “Yes, Christians can sometimes sincerely disagree on minor matters—although you should never forget that all Christians agree on those things that are really important, such as the divinity of Christ, His death on the cross for our salvation, His resurrection from the dead, and our hope of heaven.

    From my own study of the Bible, I’m convinced that when we die, we immediately enter the presence of the Lord. At some future time, we will be given new bodies, similar to the body Jesus had after His resurrection. But in the meantime, our souls are with the Lord, and we are fully conscious of being in His presence.

    This certainly seemed to be the Apostle Paul’s hope. He faced many dangers, and he knew that at any moment his life on earth could end. But he faced death with hope: “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Elsewhere he declared, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23).

    Never forget that we have hope of life after death for one reason: Jesus Christ removed the barrier between us and God—the barrier caused by sin. Is your hope in Him? If not, put your trust in Christ without delay.”

  116. Glaucia says:

    Thanks for this. When my husband left my children and I 4.5 years ago, i had my share of people who said the right Christian answers, and i know they were trying to be helpful, but they made me so angry! There were a few friends however,who were there,.and hugged me and loved me,to where I am today. Thank you for reminding us that some situations can’t just be put into a nice little package. But God can still being beauty out of those moments.

  117. This is disturbing on many levels and I have to say that i dont agree with most of it. I am so sorry that she finds no comfort in the sayings or scriptures because in all storms there is our one true God…waiting to brush away our tears and cover us with love and comfort. I have dealt with many tragedy ….some very horrific…and i have always cherished the comfort of other Christians…and their tried and true sayings.

  118. Kristie Brown says:

    This post was so perfect. I have been in that spot. I lost 2 daughters, years apart, by stillbirth and had those exact words about God needing another angel said to me. In those moments the stung. Well intentioned but the wrong words. The other saying that still to this day strikes me wrong is God has a reason (purpose) for everything. Well that insinuates that God caused the situation or purposefully caused something bad to happen. I know God only intends good for us. He can absolutely bring good out of horrible circumstances but He never creates those situations just so something good can follow. Thank you for you openness and honesty. I am so glad to know I am not the only one who has felt these same things.
    Kristie

  119. All you said is great. It is so hard in a situation when the other persons pain is so unbearable you have to ask the Holy Spirit what to say. S good friend of mines son just died a week ago from drugs. All I can do is pray for her and I am asking the Holy Spirit to comfort her and love on her and to use me. We are only instruments to be used

  120. This is just what I needed to hear. I asked the Lord into my heart at 11 and loved God so much. My parents fought all the time, I was bullied in school, married my best friend and love of my life who turned out to make my life and my kids’ lives frightening and miserable. I left for our safety, torn and ragged, but still believed God loved us. Years later, before I dated, I asked my family to analyze any guys I would date. One finally passed the family test, great Christian guy who loved God, us, and the rest of the family. After much prayer for God’s guidance, we got married. After marriage, he has set up strict rules (only a few minutes in the bathroom, can not close our doors, must pray a certain way, etc), separated us from the rest of our family, and have behaved violently toward family members who try to see us anyway. My favorite answers from Christians are: “God has a reason for all this” and “God must have a really special plan for your life then.” I really hope not, because if so, I do not feel the love that I’ve always been told God has. Also, my favorite, “are you sure God told you to marry him?” Well, obviously, I thought so. It wasn’t something I jumped into and actually most of the time it came from people who prayed and felt like It was right for my husband and I to get married. I’m so confused and angry and betrayed, and the nice, tidy Christian words make it that much worse.

  121. I really enjoy the daily devotionals. They are so easy to relate to. Thank you ladies for your hard work and dedication to this ministry.

  122. I’m reading this devotional with my sick baby and husband laying next to me. I’m reading through all the comments and think wow look what my fellow sisters in Christ have gone through! I’m not even going to get into all the nitty gritty of my life right now ! But I wanted to say I’m praying for you all , I ask that you please pray for my husband to get saved. I love him but he doesn’t understand my perspective and some days I feel I want to call it quits . Our life is a mess right now. I faith but my husband doesn’t , we have to come up with $3,500 by Monday for some bills or we may loose everything ! I am so stressed , I just don’t understand why things happen ! I feel like everything is coming crashing down on me and I always have to be the strong one , because that’s what good Christian wives do!! I know I’m rambling and others have bigger obstacles, hurts , pains , heart aches etc..

  123. Yes,Lisa,there are times when saying nothing is much better than any words. There were moments after my husband died I wanted to slap anyone who told me things like he’s no longer in pain, no longer sick, he’s in a better place, or any other well meant response to my widow’s grief. Then I’d feel awful for wanting to slap someone for attempting to comfort me.
    God gave me the comfort I needed to grieve and then to let go of the grief.

  124. When I was in my 20s, my friend died an excruciatingly painful death from stomach cancer. At her funeral Mass, the Catholic priest basically yelled at all of us who were crying in church for not “rejoicing” that Karen was in heaven. I felt sickened. A few years later, a friend’s 7 year old son died from a terrible car accident. His liver was lacerated by a seat belt and he lived for several hours, in terrible pain, begging his parents to help him. He died in the helicopter airlifting him to another hospital. I dreaded his funeral service. I thought that as much as I needed to be there for his parents, I would start screaming and would never stop if the pastor told us to “rejoice.” When the service started, the pastor looked directly at the parents, stood in silence for a minute while their weeping continued, and then stated simply: This hurts SO much. I would only cause you more pain if I preached today about God’s will. This was NOT God’s will. God promises that He will work it into good but that is no comfort now. There is a time for everything. This time is for sorrow and anguish and loss and pain and I will not belittle your monumental loss. You grieve and the Lord grieves for you and with you. You are devastated. We are devastated for you.

    The pastor then preached beautifully about Ecclesiastes and Romans 8:28 and yes, that even Jesus felt such loss that He just wept. “Jesus wept.” I bawled my eyes out during that service–in relief for the blessing that the pastor had given to the parents to “just weep.”

    Years later, when the time came for me to marry, I went to that pastor, far away, in a different church, in a different town. That is who married my husband and me. Our friends who lost their son so tragically were in attendance. The mom said to me: Today is a time to be happy and I am happy for you. I knew then that through her abject pain at her little son’s funeral, her pastor’s words had reached her, the Lord had reached her, He had spoken to her heart with simple words acknowledging that her loss was awful, her pain was real and her feelings were justified.

    When my son’s teacher lost her 4-year old daughter this year, he told me he was afraid of saying the wrong thing. He attends a private Christian school and he thought he should have something “Christian” to say. I asked him what he really wanted to say if he didn’t have to worry about what was “right.” He replied: “this is the worst thing I can imagine and I feel so bad that it happened.” I told him to say just that. And he did.

  125. Jennifer Christenberry says:

    So timely for me, as I have been worrying about my 21 year old. I’m working on trusting God in this situation. Your words gave me a fresh perspective – He has made a way for her. Thank you.

  126. When I met my husband, he was a married man. Bad thing is, is that I knew it. I fell more in love with him each time he would come to see me. He divorced & we married. He had a battle with cancer in 2010 & beat it. At his 5 year check up, something was wrong again. It took the doctors from April till September to figure out the cancer was back. He started his chemotherapy treatment in October. In March of this year he ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. Turns out the pneumonia was in fact pulmonary fibrosisof the lungs. DDamage done by the chemo treatment. He was put on a ventilator April 6th & never came off. He passed away on April 22nd. I know all too well the hurt, the anger, the WHY questions. I didn’t and still don’t understand why after all the prayers of healing for my husband, why God took him away from me. There is alot of anger and animosity between his family and I now. I have been put down, & bashed really bad. Even forced out of a home my husband and I shared for 5 years. I have been through alot, but I know my God loves me, I have repented, & he will some day save me. & when I say saved, I mean he will heal my brokenness.

  127. Debbie Herbst says:

    Thank you for this wonderful truth and reminder. First for my college aged kids. Secondly, in my work in which I have struggled with slander and management structure. A turning point has occurred, which I did not seek, and the Lord reminded me about how He brought a great change and new chapter, almost 2 years ago. Again, which I did not seek. This would be Him going before me and following me. “What if” He really is pleased with how I have sought to follow and obey Him through these challenges. What a relief to remember that He can handle my life, so will provide wisdom and knowledge for whatever is coming. Thank you.

  128. What a beautiful devotion! I pictured in my mind as you followed your precious son not allowing him to see you but you were there. This encouraged me so much today to remember how God is with me in all my ways. “He is in us, above us and through us.”
    Thank you so much!
    Karen

  129. Rebecca Shipp says:

    I am glad I read this today, we need to think before we speak. What can you say when a loved one dies? I try to remember to say I a am sorry and tell the family that I love them. When my Dad passed away in 2001 and them my Mom in 2006, everything was just a blur afterwards, I do not really remember what people said to me, just feeling the support of family and friends was so powerful.

  130. Jacqui Callender says:

    This is just what I needed today. Very timely for me and others. Thank you and God Bles

  131. Please help me pray for my Pastor & First Lady. (The Rakes)Their daughter is undergoing Extreme Chemo(24hrs) on today.& Most of all let’s pray that Whitney survives this aggressive treatment & is healed!!!For we know that God said that by his stripes we are healed!!!Amen & Thank you in advance.

  132. MaryLou says:

    It is absolutely amazing and awesome how the Lord works! Every single time, I mean EVERY SINGLE TIME, when I have something on my mind or I’m really upset about something, and if I’m staying in God’s Word and lifting this burden up to HIM, HE responds to me! And, here I am again! My heart was so burdened this morning, and driving to work I just put it at HIS feet. And, then sitting here at my desk and reading this, WOW! Another answer from my LORD! Thank you, JESUS, and thank you Wendy Pope for your inspired words from the Holy Spirit! Our God is an awesome God!

  133. Pamela Kelly says:

    AMEN…my husband of 52 years just passed 6/22. A bible study church friend’s daughter just passed a couple days ago. The pain and devastation is beyond words. We are both mighty, faithful believers. We will be sustained by His love, peace and comfort. However, no scripture in the world can make it better right now; and having a deep, genuine concern expressed for our broken heart is more consoling than His Word at this time.

  134. I read you article on the Christian answer. I’m wondering if I could have permission to print this is my July ELetter that I send out (about grief education)….of course printing you mission statement and credits.
    Please let me know. I think it could help a lot of people
    Nan

  135. Gail Joyner says:

    I opened this devotion this morning – a day late but God must have known that this would be the devotion I needed for today because this morning I had the difficult job of letting my 37 year old daughter know that her husband’s very best friend in the world, a young man of 37, had died 2 days ago. No one had let them know that he had died before my call to her- a fact that hurt as much as the news. Here is the thing – in their 37 short years on the face of the earth these two beautiful children have had to deal with so many friends who died from disease, from suicide and accidents that I, at 65, have never had to experience the grief even once – so how could I be a comfort – how could I possibly be there for them. Your devotion was perfect – it was totally what I needed to share with my daughter. How awesome is God that He can be there just when you need Him the most – even when you are a day late in your devotion time. Thank you so much for this devotion.

  136. This is so wonderful….as someone who has dealt with a horrible chronic disease as well as the loss of my mother, sometimes I just want to know that it’s ok to just say “this stinks” and have my friend sit with me in agreement.

  137. Thank you for this wonderful devotion. I sometimes struggle to say the right thing to others who are suffering. It’s a good reminder that often, words are unnecessary- a warm hug and shared weeping is better than a thousand meaningless words.

    I am comforted too remembering that God knows our struggles, and He does care. During a very long season of trial and suffering, I was so tired of putting on my mask at Church and pretending everything was fine- only because no one was really caring enough to dig deep and really meet me in my moment of need. I didn’t even really want to go to Church anymore. One Sunday, feeling very low, I literally cried out loud to God, telling Him that I was just so tired of feeling alone and forgotten in my suffering, that I was so tired of people asking the trite “how are you?” without really caring for the answer, so that I when I lied and said I was fine, they just moved on, eager to be done with their Christian duty. After Church, I was passing by an old friend whom I hadn’t seen in a while. She asked me how I was, and I weakly smiled and said “I’m fine” just like I always did. And she stopped and she looked deeply in my eyes and said, “Are you REALLY fine?” And I just broke down in tears. In that moment, I knew that God was there and He heard the cry of my heart. I thank God for my friend that day who really took the time to see my pain and care for me, and not just move on after going through the pleasantries. I remember that, and how nice it was- a soothing balm for my soul. I hope to treat others in such a way, and to be able to empathize with them and just weep with them when they are suffering. It means so much.

  138. Sally Ann Price says:

    Thanks for sharing this.

  139. When my fiancé died suddenly, I went through the funeral in a fog. I can’t even remember the words people spoke to me at that time except for one young man that just took my hand and knelt in front of me and said he was so sorry. He was friends with me and my fiancé and his eyes showed his grief. Two years later our friendship turned into love and we have been married for over 50 years and I can still remember his compassion for me that day. Thank you for reminding me that few words are needed. 💒

  140. This is one of the BEST devotionals I have read! Thanks so much!

  141. In my 71 years,I have learned two things that work for me:
    1. All evil (including death) comes from Satan. All evil traces back to Satan. He is the source of all evil.
    2. God allows Satan to exist because God gave us, the angels, and Satan free will. We can either choose God (good) or Satan (evil). I try to choose God by choosing to speak His word when confronted by evil.

  142. Suzanne Stillion says:

    Simply…thank you. In times of devastating loss, God will speak what needs to be said in His own way, His own time. He does not require our limited vocabularies to voice His thoughts. We need only to physically and quietly be there to support and uplift the person who is hurting beyond what can be described in mere words.

  143. Oh my!!! Just loved the encouragement I got from this reading. It shift my focused to OUR LORD, OUR ONE AND ONLY GOD. Going through a rough/dark patch in my life. And I THANKYOU you for all the devotionals that somehow seem to be written for me. God bless you and your ministry.

  144. Rachael says:

    Honestly, one of the worst things about being in bible college was the fact that everyone threw around those cute little Christ sayings for every situation. It was very clear that many of those people who said those things had never gone through any kind of major struggles. I appreciate that you have put words to the feelings I always felt when people said those things.

  145. Tiffiny broooks says:

    Thank you for sharing. Every time I open a email from proverbs 31 it’s right on time . I struggle with the loss of my daughter sometimes she was sooo full.of life and she was a teen mom.Although I was not ok with her being pregnant I learned to live with it and I absolutely adore my grandbaby but I often ask God why , why is she gone and why is her daughter being raised without her mom, also I just celebrated my son’s bday he passed a the age of 13, he had multiple disabilites, but I am.thankful.for the time he was with us, his birthday was July 2. I admire your honesty and strength. Tiffiny Brooks

  146. I humbly disagree. A “tidy Christian package” we can always deliver in every situation is prayer. I understand that cliches can be meaningless and even hurtful at times, but sincere prayer is powerful and never hurtful.

  147. Susan G says:

    Thanks for this Lysa. Such truths about grief. I totally understand the ‘crying hysterically’ one minute and laughing the next… I almost felt guilty laughing about something funny we remembered my dad saying after he died. But I realize it was healthy for our souls at the time and also realized crying and laughing are such close emotional outlets, side by side to each other… We must continue to laugh…to cry…and to heal. God made us and He can heal us…
    Bless you!

  148. Susan G says:

    Love this! I love Psalm 139:5!
    Bless you!

  149. This is a touching portrait of the struggle we Christians have between grief and trying to find meaning out of tragedy. Thank you!

  150. Thank you for being real! The time you have spent with the Lord & life in it’s hard places has a picture of Christ. I look for this when reading scripture or in an experience I am experiencing or had experienced. To know Him more is feeling His presence in such places. I become more happy to be me ….a setting free moment of His acceptance of me in love. A box is hard place to be in when no way is known to go but to stay just there. In an ant hill way I see & spring back to being me and I AM LOVED!! Thank you …. I hear Jesus.

  151. i so needed to read this, i am dealing with cancer a broken home and i am unable to attend a friends wedding out of state ONCE again due to drama and illness. I needed to hear a word like wow, it sucks to NEVER be able to be normal, attend a wedding, have a baby, always have this crisis or that crisis, but instead I got ‘God is on the throne’ enter —> blank stare. I mean i KNOW that. But seriously you tell me to be happy dont question God and dont complain. come on like you said evenJesus was human when He was able to face gethesemane, sometimes things suck, and its ok to say so. Its more of an insult to brush me off with a random scripture because you are basically saying you dont have the time to enter my pain. so here here for ‘i hate ants’ you dont have to wallow in pain, but not acknowleding it isnt honest.

  152. Renee Carmichael says:

    I’ve had this devotion saved in my e-mail since you sent it out, but did not read it until this afternoon. I can soooooo relate to every single word.
    My dad in September of 2014, and though some folks were doing their best to comfort my family, what they said sometimes was totally NOT WANTED.
    I know sometimes the best thing anyone can do is just let me/us be sad in that particular moment, and maybe just sit and cry with us.

  153. Marilyn Berlin says:

    I am involved with a Christ-based group called GriefShare. It has groups around the country that minister to those in loss. It involves helpful videos with real-life advice from Christian couselors and professionals as well as support group time to share situations like these. They are found on the web at http://www.griefshare.org. God bless.

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