“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort.He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us.” 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4
How can Christians encourage and support someone who’s genuinely struggling?
- Don’t try to answer WHY in the midst of the crisis.
Displaying your theological and biblical knowledge, especially to anyone in the midst of pain, will only come across as cold and heartless. Even Jesus didn’t answer the WHY question, but displayed love and compassion when confronted with pain (John Chapter 9).
- Show Up and Be Present.
Be there in the pain. When the inevitable question of WHY appears, respond honestly with, ‘I don’t know.’ Because we don’t know. We don’t have God’s full understanding and in those moments we simply need to show up. Hopefully, they will begin to see the love of God in you by how you love them through their pain.
- Offer to Pray for them.
Rarely has anyone ever turned down my offer of prayer during an intense personal crisis. This includes atheists, agnostics, and even those practicing other religions. So how do you pray? Start by admitting your confusion at the WHY question, then ask for God’s comfort, strength, peace, and help for the person facing the crisis.
- Offer Encouragement.
Opportunities for encouragement often show up a bit after the initial crisis hits and requires incredible discernment to know how and when to point them towards God’s promises and hope. It’s always a good idea to follow their lead and answer questions as they are raised. And always be sure to pray that you would be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit to know what to say.
No one will ever be able to adequately answer the question, why? But, the God who loves us, the God who sent His Son to die for us, understands ALL of our pain and suffering. He wants everyone to experience the same strength and peace that comes from knowing the God of comfort, who will be right there with us every step of the way.