When I Don’t Know What to Say

Recently, a friend of mine shared her story at a ladies brunch at my mom’s church. In a nutshell, her husband almost died. Did die. She performed CPR and saved his life. And he’s a miracle. He’s still recovering–his brain suffered major damage, but he’s made major strides in recovery. We believe that he will be completely healed. 

Her story sobers me and reminds me that every “normal” day is a gift. 

And I don’t know what to say. 

Have you ever been there? 

When my grandmother died last year, I cried for days. And I’m positive my friends didn’t know what to say to me. I was in such a fog, I don’t really remember much of what they did say other than “I’m so so sorry.”  It meant a lot. But their presence meant even more. At the memorial, as I looked up with mascara-streaked eyes, I saw my friend, sitting near the back, wiping her own tears. She’d lost her grandma recently too. It was still fresh for her. But she came–she didn’t hardly know my Nana. But she showed up. And I will NEVER forget it. 

The Bible says that those of us who know Christ do not have to worry or fear or even grieve like those who do not know Christ. (I Thessalonians 4:13, II Timothy 1:7) We have a hope that makes us different and unique. (Hebrews 6:19) It’s the solid rock we hold on to when everything around us doesn’t make sense. It’s not “normal.” It’s counter-cultural. 

And when you’re looking into the eyes of someone who is going through something, through storms… We don’t know what to say. But here’s the thing: we don’t need to “say” much. They might not remember it anyway. The best thing is to follow Jesus’s example. When Peter was sinking in the waves, Jesus didn’t tell him to learn his lesson. He didn’t say, “I’m sorry you’re going through this.” He reached for Peter. 

No, don’t misunderstand. We can’t necessarily always rescue our friends from their storm. But we can be the hand of Jesus. We can physically be there. Or, if we can’t physically be there, we can call. We don’t have to wait for our friend to “call if they need something.” We can call. We can pray with them over the phone. We can listen. We can speak truth into their hearts, and help them stand against the lies of the enemy when they aren’t strong enough to do it on their own. We don’t have to show them the lesson in their suffering (Jesus never said that). Or tell them everything happens for a reason (also not what Jesus ever said).  Or that God won’t give them more than they can handle (again, not in the Bible).  We don’t have to solve their issues. We can cry with them. (John 11:35, Romans 12:15) We can remind them of the “blessed hope” we have in Christ. (I Peter 3:15, Titus 2:13) We can stand in faith, believing for a miracle for them. We don’t have to have all the answers. We just need to have all of Jesus. And, as the song says, “When you don’t know what to say, just say ‘Jesus.'” (7eventh Time Down, “Just Say Jesus.”) 

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