What to say when words won’t help?

One of the most difficult aspects of life and ministry is when my strengths fail me. Days like today when the unthinkable happens to a facebook friend. When right there on my news feed among the fear-mongering about politics and artificial sweeteners, there is a post that reads that a baby has died. Not some random fund-raising, tear-jerking post; but one about a real baby whose aunt and mom went to school with me. And words simply failed me. I stared at the post, it’s existence proof that my friends desires input, and have no words. Forget wisdom, comfort, kindness, or counsel – I have nothing at all. Because some things are beyond the power of words. I want to curl up in a ball in sympathy. I cannot begin to imagine how they feel or how they will weather this. I know they won’t do it because of anyone’s words alone, though. We aren’t their pastors, we don’t even see them anywhere but online. We are bystanders who hurt with them, in a comparatively tiny way, and are made aware of the inadequacy of our strengths to soothe the pain. So I wrote the truth: that I am so, so sorry. And I ask God to bring comfort and peace, because I can’t even imagine how that is possible. But I do believe that God is able to immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine. God bless you who are hurting. God save my words from making it worse.

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One thought on “What to say when words won’t help?

  1. Allie says:

    Sometimes the best thing to say is “I’m so sorry” and then just cry with them. At least, that’s what helped me the most when I recently experienced loss and grief.

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