Complex trials need more than simple solutions – 

There was this time a few years ago when a precious lady in our church was grieving deeply. Her husband had recently passed away after a tough battle with cancer. Sunday’s were a tough day for her. So most times when I could I would give her a hug and offer to pray with her. 
There was the his one time when when we finished praying this other lady was stood right by us. This lady put her hand on the grieving widows should and said (and I quote) “I know how you feel”. This would have been an unwise statement at the best of times. Everyone is different, everyone feels grief differently so I was nervous about her opening statement, but what came next was a lot worse. She said: “I know how you feel, my dog died this week”. 
The church had a strict no shouting policy! But I tell you what I wanted to do something to help this grieving lady as she just stared, speechless, looking at this well wisher. So I just quickly changed the subject. 
I have found that often times people don’t know what to say so they try and think of something that they think might help. Facebook and Instagram have just intensified that urge. Someone is hurting and their friends are tempted to quote Romans 8:28 or Philippians 4:13 – great Scriptures, don’t get me wrong, but complex trials require complex responses. Something more than a pretty picture of a stream or ‘I know how you feel, my dog died last week’. To be honest those comments usually make things worse.  
Please allow me the opportunity to share what I have found that might encourage helpful. I hope that the next time you are face to face with a broken heart these things might help you – 
Some other things to avoid in caring for those who are going trials – 
Cookie cut answers in a complicated world – something more than clichés – 
Minimize – lets just focus on the good or lets not talk about it 
Avoid – What the church and Christians feel uncomfortable around suffering 
Some things to do in caring for those who are going through trials – 
Be present – sometimes the best thing to do is just show up, hug them, tell them you love them and you are praying with them and then just sit with the in silence, until they are ready to talk. 
Take them to God – in prayer – remind them that God may be quiet right now but He isn’t absent – 
Let them lead the conversation – don’t presume you know what they need or how they feel. 

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