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.