What Do You Say?

“All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.
If I had spoken out like that, I would have betrayed your children.
When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply”
Psalm 73:14-16 (NIV)

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“What things?” he [Jesus] asked.  Luke 24:19 (NIV)

Yesterday we  considered the initial approach to someone who is suffering. Today I wish to have you think with me about the next step in assisting in the recovery of someone in distress.

The most important assistance you can give and the very first step in resolving the matter is to get the person talking about what is troubling them. Jesus began to walk with two disciples en route from Jerusalem to Emmaus. He knew they were troubled by His crucifixion three days earlier so He got them talking about their problem by saying, “What things?”

Don’t push the issue if the person wants to remain silent. Just say something like, “When you want to talk I am ready to listen.” Give them control over something because their problem is clearly in control of them.

If you know of someone else who has endured a similar situation and overcame the matter in God’s grace, you might say, “I know someone who suffered in a similar way to you. Would you like to talk to them? The way the Lord got them through their suffering may not be the way He will help you but it is a start.”

Now you have introduced the element of hope into the mix. To hear of someone else who has gone through this valley and in God’s grace came out victorious is light in a dark tunnel. Self-help groups have a good point when they gather together people with similar problems. The first point is that the person realizes that they are not alone. There is comfort in the presence of others with the same problem. Second, they may learn coping strategies from the other people in the group.

Paul speaks of this very helpful matter in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) where he writes,

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our troubles,
so that we can comfort those in any trouble
with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

In dealing with someone in pain, or if you are in pain yourself, find another believer who has risen above their issues through the grace of God. Ask that person how the Lord helped them. Ask them to tell you what things to avoid and what things to do. These people are of enormous assistance in our times of trouble and we need to connect with them.

Best of all we are encouraged in Scripture to look to Jesus. Hebrews 12:2-3 (NIV)

“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners,
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

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