What to say when people hurt

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about people who are hurting.

In the past few weeks alone, I’ve watched Haiti crumble into a pile of rubble and heard about collapsing marriages, strained relationships, broken relationships, terminal health issues, emotional distress, you name it. Near and far, pain is everywhere.

Unfortunately, pain is a guaranteed part of life thanks to Adam and Eve’s actions long, long ago in the Garden of Eden. Of their own free will, they bit into an apple and their world of peace became our world of pain. Hooray, free choice! Boo, world of pain!

The hardest thing about pain, other than experiencing it yourself, is knowing what to say to someone who is hurting. “I’m sorry” sounds lame. Giving unwanted advice = pretentious. And, pretending nothing is happening is ignorant.

I’ve had some seasons of pain in my life. Physically and emotionally and to the point where I wasn’t quite sure how I’d get beyond it. People would say to me, “You’ll get past this. It’s not the end of the world. You’re stronger than you know,” etc., etc. And, in hindsight, they were right. But in the moment, the mountain of pain looked insurmountable.

And, I think it would’ve truly been insurmountable had I needed to climb on my own. As a Christian, there is nothing in this world that I face alone. God is always by my side even, and especially, in seasons of pain. And, if God was willing to sacrifice His only Son for me, how much more willing do you think He is to take care of me? Me AND all of my needs?

A few years ago, I came across a song that really spoke to me at time when I was hurting and trying to give all my pain over to God. It’s funny how giving one’s pain to God can be a struggle in and of itself. But, that’s another story. Anyway, the song’s lyrics:

“Oceans From The Rain” by Seventh Day Slumber

And I’m amazed by You. Cause You’re never far away
And all that I’ve been through, Your love has never changed

Chorus:
You make oceans from the rain
Breathing life into this place
And I will drown inside your love
Until I see your perfect face

And nothing I’ve acquired means anything at all
Cause you’re everything I needed
You’re so much more than I deserve

(Chorus)

And I thank you Lord (repeat 4 times)

(Chorus)

The blood of Jesus can wash your pain away

[Note: You can listen to the song here. Someone not related to the band made this particular music video, but the song remains the same.]

To be reminded of God’s continual, non-stop love for me was and still is overwhelming. And the amount of tears I’ve shed in one lifetime could, no doubt, fill an entire ocean. I made it through seasons of pain, and I know that I’ll make it through future seasons of pain. Because “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). And, because I’m never alone.

And, to those close to me and far away who are struggling with pain, I’ll be praying. Because a lot of times, there are no words.

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One thought on “What to say when people hurt

  1. Jason says:

    What comment can possibly follow those words?! Except maybe “Right on!”. Oftentimes its just the willingness to listen that makes the difference – no advice, no solution – just being there to listen.

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