When you encounter someone whose heart is broken, here’s what your faith calls you to do.
Posted in , Feb 21, 2022
When you are hurting and brokenhearted, so many memories can stir up the pain—places, images, even clothing and household items. As a pastor, I see this with some couples going through divorce. The person still at home wants everything out that belonged to the ex. Or the widow might immediately give away items that belonged to her deceased spouse to ease the hurt.
Some wonder if God is even present in the middle of all the grief. But Psalms 34:18 states, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
One Sunday morning a woman walked into our church a few minutes after worship began. She sat on a bench in the narthex and didn’t enter the sanctuary. John, the facility manager, noticed her alone and crying. He went to check and asked, “Is everything okay?” The woman said, “Today is the one year anniversary of my daughter’s memorial service.” She was overwhelmed with grief and unable to worship with others.
John sat next to her and listened as the grieving mother shared her pain. She talked about her daughter and where they lived before moving to Florida. When the woman mentioned her hometown in West Virginia, John recognized it; he had grown up nearby. John prayed with and for the woman. He asked God to comfort and give her the strength to get through the difficult day.
A few weeks later, the woman sent a thank you note to the church office. She didn’t know who had taken the time to listen and be with her in that time of need, but she wrote, “The act of faith really helped me through that day and still consoles me.”
John’s act of faith had consoled a grieving mother. Unbeknownst to her, God was near her and touched John to be the comforting presence.
When we stop and become attentive to the hurts of others, our hearts are filled with compassion. We become agents of comfort. Scripture teaches us to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. It’s always much easier to rejoice than to weep. But when we spend time with those in pain, we do the work of God and discover the power of His presence. And we find healing for ourselves as well.