Can I Come In?

Little five year old boys don’t usually want to play with girls putting on makeup – unless it is boring because there are no other boys around. That changes everything. At least it did for Jude, my grandson. My four granddaughters had locked themselves in the... read more

My Mother’s Christmas Wish

Devotion: When I was a little girl, the number one question I asked all my family before December 25th was “What do you want for Christmas?” I asked my sisters and my brother, my mother and my father. It was a huge question for me because my funds were limited to a small... read more

More Than Fine

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” II Thessalonians 2:16 (NIV)

I saw her moving slowly through the slacks aisle in a local department store, shopping but seeing nothing. I understood. The image of her beautiful daughter who had passed away tragically several months before came to mind and was woven through the heartache of my husband’s death only weeks earlier.
“How are you?” I asked her. “Fine. How are you?” she responded. “Fine.” I said and we both moved on. The Lord knew that neither one of us was fine or even close to that and He quietly nudged my heart: “You said you were fine and so did she but neither one of you are fine. Go talk to her.” I did not want to obey and instead went to another aisle in the store. But as much as I resisted, the Lord persisted. “Go talk to her.” And I went. I touched her shoulder: “You asked me how I was doing and I asked you how you were doing and we both said “fine” but we aren’t fine…we are hurting. It’s horrible losing someone you love.” She began to cry and I could not stop the tears. “I can’t imagine what it would be like without your husband,” she said. “And I cannot imagine what I would do if I lost a child.” I whispered to her.
When the heartache of a loss is acknowledged, two things occur. First, grief is validated and we know that we have a right to cry and to struggle. Secondly, the sympathy and empathy help us to begin the slow process of healing. We shared a bond neither one of us wanted – that of losing someone we loved. But we were able to acknowledge that heartache and grief and to encourage each other to hold on to the Lord and depend on Him as we faced each day with our losses.
Grieving at the loss of a loved one cannot be ignored. Even Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus and He knew He would raise His dear friend in a matter of minutes. If asked how He was doing, I wonder if Jesus would have answered “Fine.”
If you are grieving at the loss of a loved one, I urge you to gently share how you are truly feeling: “Right now I’m doing okay but I can’t tell you in 10 minutes how I will be.” Or “I am holding on to the Lord with everything I’ve got but it’s so hard.” That allows the person asking the question to also gently encourage you or hug you or whisper your name to the Lord. We are told in I Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV) that we should “…encourage one another and build each other up...” May we always be willing to share and to listen to hearts that are hurting with a love and compassion that is more than just “fine.”

Father, please give me a heart of compassion. Help me to look around with Your eyes and see those who are hurting and heartbroken and who need encouragement from You through me. And if I am the one who is hurting, help me to be willing to share more than the word “fine.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Have you suffered the loss of a spouse? Child? Parent? Close friend? What was your response when someone asked you how you were doing?

Do you know someone who has also experienced a similar loss?

How have you handled those situations in the past when you have come in contact with someone who was heartbroken?

Write a note every few weeks to someone you know has suffered the loss of a loved one to let her know you are praying for her.

Invite that person to your home for a cup of hot tea and a listening heart.

Use a phone call to let someone experiencing a loss know that you have not forgotten and are lifting her up to the Lord.

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” II Thessalonians 2:16 (NIV)

“Your love has given me great joy and encouragement because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” Philemon 7 (NIV)

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up just as in fact you are doing.” I Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

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Copyright 2010  Nancy E. Hughes