This post is one in a series of posts called “Glimpses of God” which I am writing as part of the Write31Days blog challenge. You can find the other posts here: 31 Glimpses of God Blog Challenge (#write31days)
Yesterday’s glimpse came in the form of God’s provision. I had no idea what my morning would involve, but God did. While circumstances took me by surprise, nothing catches our Savior by surprise. He had gone before me, He was standing with me, and I believe that He allowed me to be caught off guard so that I would fully rely on Him instead of my own imagined ability.
I was faced with a delicate situation in which I had no idea what to do. Words failed, I could not rely on precedence, and the stakes were very high. While technically I have experience with similar situations, this felt unfamiliar and frightening. I cried out to the Lord for help and wisdom. I only had time to plead with Him to allow me to be His arms, His smile, and His heart.
God provided. Yet His provision was not in words of wisdom. It was not in supernaturally healing what was broken. Instead it was in the gift of being able to simply listen to another. My flesh wanted to speak words of life to a hurting soul. Yet the Spirit led me to simply listen.
A fully engaged listening ear has great power. At times I believe a caring listening ear can be far more powerful than the correct words. When someone is hurting, especially when someone has experienced a devastating loss, often the best gift we can give is to listen to them. Let them tell their story.
I was privileged to work as a grief counselor for a few years before becoming a mommy, and I remember well the power of getting someone to tell their story of loss.
Most of my job involved helping the one left behind tell their story. Whether they wrote it, spoke it, yelled it or whispered it, being able to get the story from heart, to head, to mouth was often the largest part of the healing process.
When our world is turned upside down we must process that outside of ourselves. And it is a gift to allow someone to process their pain by creating a safe, loving and nonjudgemental environment.
There is a time to speak, to encourage, to gently challenge false beliefs, but there is also a time to be quiet and still and simply be with a person.
Silence is awkward at first, but silence in love communicates, “I respect you. I am here for you whenever you need me. I will not run from your pain.”
Grief is messy, grief is raw, grief is hard. Loving someone who is in the middle of gut-wrenching grief requires the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to lead you when to speak and when to remain silent.
Silence does not mean not speaking of the loss. Usually, not acknowledging someone’s loss is very painful to them.
Being silent with someone means sitting with them without feeling obliged to say something. It means listening more than speaking. It means being content to just sit with them until they are ready to talk.
As God’s children let’s not be afraid of silence. Let’s not be afraid of each other’s pain. God has created us to be in relationship with Him and with each other. He will provide what we need, when we need it, even if that means providing comfort with silence.
I phrase I remember well from my days of grief counseling was:
When grieving you have an increased need to be understood, but a decreased ability to be understanding.
The hurting wounded souls around us need us to be understanding with them. They need us to be willing to listen instead of trying to fix. They need us to hear them, and to be present with them in their pain.
The time will come when God will give us words to say, but as we wait for His words let’s pray for the strength to sit in silence and extend the love of Jesus to those in pain.
God provided for His children yesterday in a beautiful way. He revealed a glimpse of His glory in the midst of brokenness and pain. Who can do that apart from the Lord? He is magnificent!
See you tomorrow,