What Should We Do When Others Hurt?
In the counseling office, I rarely feel under pressure to answer people’s questions, or to defend God. I know that as I “come along side” hurting people, God’s comfort will overflow, and He will also give me the words to speak. Although God uses my counseling skills and abilities, my desire is not to receive personal praise, but to help the hurting and to glorify Christ. I’ve found that God has never let me down in the counseling office and that He truly heals and also answers the prayers of all that call upon Him in sincerity.
Sometimes all a hurting person needs from us is to spend time with them and hurt with them. In so doing, we are imitating our heavenly Father. Isaiah 63:9 says, “In all their distress, HE TOO IS DISTRESSED, and the angel of His presence saved them. In His love and mercy He redeemed them; He lifted them up and CARRIED them all the days of old.” WHEN WE HURT, GOD HURTS, and His desire is to carry us through our difficult times. Of course, when we don’t FEEL “carried,” it’s important to be thankful for what blessings we can identify. Oftentimes, it’s only when we look back on our struggles that we recognize miracles, small and sometimes large, that God performed in order to help us.
The Apostle Paul – who saw the risen Christ when he was on his way to persecute and murder Christians – said to “rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15). Paul also said that God “comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows” (2 Corinthians 1:4-6).
People who are hurting need our presence, our comfort, and God’s presence through us more than they need our teachings. When Job was greatly afflicted, three men came to comfort him. They sat silently with him and also offered words of comfort. However, they ended up inquiring what Job had done wrong that he was suffering so. Now famous as “Job’s comforters,” these men brought Job no comfort at all, which is why they are famous! However, when Job PRAYED FOR these men, Job was commended by God, and what had been taken from him was restored two-fold. “Job’s comforters” received God’s correction, not His approval. Likewise, when we give comfort to those who are hurting, as our first priority, we receive God’s approval and eventually His blessings._