I have several friends going through some difficult times right now. Some have lost a parent, others have been given news that one of their parents has a terminal disease, one is fighting for her life in ICU and another going through a painful divorce. I’m sure there are others who have kept their struggles private not wanting to bother anyone else. This year has started off very difficult for a lot of people I know.
While every circumstance is unique, their pains and fears can be empathized with. When I went through a difficult period in my life, I was the one who didn’t want to bother others with my pain. People didn’t know how to respond. Some would say, “Time heals all wounds.” Others would say, “What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.” Then there were those who would not know what to say and simply say, “I’m sorry.” I’ve often thought about what could someone have said to ease the pain.
For me, I think there was nothing anyone could have said. Pain, loss and suffering are part of the furnace of life. It’s what molds us, strengthens us and pushes us onto other paths. There were no words that could have brought the healing I desperately needed. Looking back, I simply wanted someone to love me enough to stand by me in the hard times. Someone who would put their arm around me and say, “You’re not alone in this.”
One of my friends, who is going through one of these situations right now, once said, “When you have someone to stand with you through thick and thin, pain is divided and joy is multiplied.” While I can’t take the hurt, fears or questions away, I can stand with my friends to help divide their pain. Platitudes don’t bring much relief, but actions do. One action each of these friends can use right now is prayer.
When you struggle through difficult times like these, you need others who will lift you up and pray for you. When you don’t have the strength or words to pray for yourself, it helps to know that other believers are standing in the gap and fighting on your behalf. Psalm 28:7 says the Lord is our strength and shield. That’s what these people need. They need strength to make it through each day. They need protection from other things that would come against them when they’re down. They need peace that passes all understanding to come into their lives.
When there are no answers to the question of “Why”, God can still give peace in the midst of a storm. We may not understand why each of us experience these difficult times, but we can rest in the peace of knowing our God walks with us in difficult times. We can find comfort in knowing that God is still on His throne and He sees us in our dark times. He still heals. He still comforts. He still answers prayers. He still comes to those in need. May He do all of these to my friends in need and anyone reading this in need.