Devotions

What to Say or Do (When You Don’t Know What to Say or Do!)

March 12, 2020
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15 (CSB)
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I stood staring at the icy kaleidoscope pattern that formed overnight on our living room window. Just then, I heard my mom’s voice prodding me to get on my coat, and — more importantly — be on my way so I wouldn’t be late for school. Before leaving, I asked her about what was on my mind: “Mom, will Lisa be back at school today?”

“I’m not sure, honey,” she replied. “It may take a few more days.” My sixth-grade classmate had just been through an awful ordeal. Her father had passed away suddenly, leaving behind a wife and three children.

This death was my first taste of a person experiencing grief. As the years marched on, I would encounter people who experienced other types of loss — the loss of a marriage, a job, a relationship. Then the time came that I too lost loved ones to death. First an uncle. Then a grandparent. And another grandparent.

As an adult, I’ve lost an unborn baby and have had a few friends who lost their battles with terminal diseases, as well as my sister-in-law. Then, the biggest blow so far: I lost my father a few months ago when he passed away at the age of 87.

Today’s key verse, Romans 12:15, commands us to help ease the suffering of others: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.” The first part of that Scripture isn’t too hard to do. Who doesn’t like to celebrate joys with others?

But sharing sorrow is a little more trying. It can be awkward. We don’t know what to say, how we should say it, or even if we should say anything at all. Though our hearts may mean well, we are at a loss as to what to do.

Romans 12:15 holds the answer to our “What should I say or do?” dilemma. The word for weep in the original Greek language is klaió. It means to properly lament, to audibly express uncontained grief, to weep out loud right along with the other person.

It has been my experience that those who expressed with their words their sorrow over my grief were the ones who were the most impactful. Sure, I also appreciated the flowers that were sent. However, those who pushed through the awkwardness to voice their sympathy touched my heart the most.

Sometimes it was a gift card to a coffee house mailed with a handwritten note of condolences. Other times, it was a simple text message from a faraway friend telling me I was on her mind that day.

One friend would call me on random mornings to pray for me over the phone, specifically mentioning the grief I was experiencing after losing my dad. Hearing her speaking out loud to the Lord on my behalf was powerful, and it gave me the strength to face my day when what I really wanted to do was crawl back in bed, draw the covers up over my reddened eyes, and cry myself to sleep.

Is there someone in your life who’s reeling from a loss? Have they popped in your mind, but you didn’t reach out, because you simply didn’t know how? Even when we don’t know what to say or do, we can speak up and simply state, “My heart is breaking for you. I don’t know what to say, but I want you to know that I love you and want to help you carry your pain.”

Don’t shy away from using your words to weep with someone who can’t stop weeping. Our spoken words of shared grief may help another soul simply make it through their day.

Father, enable me to use my words today to share in someone’s grief, helping them to bear their burden by lightening their load and brightening their day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY

Galatians 6:2, “Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (CSB)

1 Corinthians 12:26, “So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.“ (HCSB)

RELATED RESOURCES

You know that dream you have? The one to write, speak or lead in ministry? What if 2020 was the year you took the next step in becoming the writer, speaker or leader God is calling you to be? We would love nothing more than to take the next step with you at She Speaks 2020! This year, we celebrate 20 years of helping equip and encourage women in their callings. Learn more or sign up here.

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If you want more ideas for reaching out and loving others, especially those who may be hurting or grieving, check out Karen Ehman’s book, Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World. When you purchase it from us at Proverbs 31, you receive several free bonuses, including lock screens, a printable PDF of gift ideas and designed tags, and a sampling of the corresponding Bible study.

CONNECT

Head to Karen’s website today for some helpful information and conversation on the topic of grief and a chance to win a gift bundle of her book and Bible study, Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World.

REFLECT AND RESPOND

Who is someone in your life who has recently suffered a loss? What’s one simple way you can use your words to encourage and uplift them today? Share your ideas in the comments section!

© 2020 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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