“I actually begin to feel grateful for pain’s unique counsel. I start to believe that life’s pains can surprisingly become gifts. Suffering shakes up everything, but eventually it all must settle. With Jesus at our side, it all settles on hope.”- Aubrey Sampson
In Appendix A (“Advice – or not: Advice about Advice”) of The Louder Song, Aubrey Sampson observes that it’s a tricky thing to give advice. As a result, the author offers five genuine ways to help without giving advice:
- Know that the grieving person will always be a grieving person from now on. Since grief remains with a person his or her whole life, God uses that grief to shape them and draw them closer to Him. Certainly, you cannot fix them – or take away their pain. However, you can sit beside them as they cry. Listen while they talk about their loss.
- Grieving people fear you’ll either forget their pain or the one they lost. Therefore, share your memories of their loved ones. Above all, remind your grieving friends that you see them.
- The person in pain doesn’t need you to steer them to the bright side. In fact, they possibly need just the opposite – validation. Because what they’re going through is a big deal – and remains so for as long as it needs to be a big deal. Assure them of that.
- Err on the side of coming near. With intention, embrace their grief without fear. Furthermore, ask open-ended questions. And listen. Although at times a grieving person needs space, mostly they desire that you meet them where they grieve. Consequently, practice the ministry of presence.
- For people in chronic pain, it can feel like an imposition to ask for help. But, Aubrey stresses, they do need help. As a general rule, offer practical help and lots of compassion.
Today’s question: In what ways do you feel grateful for the unique counsel of pain? Please share.
Coming Monday: the annotated bibliography of The Louder Song
Tomorrow’s blog: “Teachable and willing – favor to the humble”