What People In Deep Pain Need Most

As the Manchester bombing victims slowly move toward recovery, pain piles high next to the debris.

Heartbroken parents who will never again nuzzle their child’s hair. Children never again hearing a favorite bedtime story from mom. The widowed wife who rolls over to greet an empty pillow.

What can we possibly say that will make things better?


When unspeakable loss crumples a heart to its knees hard, deep grief doesn’t hear well. They experience devastation deafness, so to speak. I’ve been there. Felt that.

This tragedy caused me to reflect on how I initially comfort those who grieve.

Am I helping or hindering?

So often at funerals, well-intentioned people launch feel-good speeches at a grieving person about how God has a plan. How He will bring good out of their loss. That through adversity, God provides opportunity for faith to strengthen and grow.

But hold on.

There is a right time and place for those truths. But it’s not during the funeral.

After the tragedy a well-known pastor tweeted: “In deep pain, people don’t need logic, advice, encouragement, or speeches. They just need you to show up and shut up.


Devastated hearts need someone to sit in the mud and cry with them. Or a strong shoulder to lean against when their knees tremble weak. Or a comforting hug expressing love in a thousand silent ways.

And lots of prayers without ceasing.

God promises to “heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3) 

And He is faithful to do exactly that. 

So if someone in your life has suffered a deep loss, perhaps save the words for later — when lessening degrees of grief allows them to actually hear the comfort.

Until then, just show up.








8 thoughts on “What People In Deep Pain Need Most

  1. Beautiful post, so full of truth.

    1. Donna Pyle

      Thank you, Sarah. I wish someone would have given me this wisdom MUCH earlier in life.

  2. Refreshing wisdom. Thank you.

    1. Donna Pyle

      Thank you, Linda. It’s great to see you here!

  3. So true! At the Jason Grey concert last weekend, he was saying in his greatest season of loss the best thing a friend had done for him was to hold him for two minutes without talking.

    Yes. That. Exactly. Show up, keep your arms outstretched, and your mouth closed. ❤️

    1. Donna Pyle

      Wow, Heidi, what a powerful story for him to tell everyone. That’s exactly right! Sometimes we just need to process in silence with someone who’s not interrupting it. 🙂

  4. Cheryl Deines

    Playing catch up today and finally taking time to read this. Two things really stuck out to me: the term “devastation deafness”! What a wonderful description of grief! And the second thing was the Quote that you said a well-known Pastor had tweeted! That is so very true! Thanks, Donna! God uses you in amazing ways! 🙂

    1. Donna Pyle

      If you’ve ever experienced devastation deafness, that’s exactly what it feels like. Showing up with extended arms and mouths shut goes a LONG way. Thank you, Cheryl!


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