After the loss of a child

Published 8:14 am Wednesday, November 10, 2021

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From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: A young family moved to our neighborhood after their child died. They keep their shades drawn and don’t answer their phone. We aren’t ministers or social workers, but we lost a child years ago and thought we might be a source of comfort. How can this be done without invading their privacy? — N.F.
Dear N.F.: We don’t have to be a minister or a trained counselor to help others. We just need to be available. When people are walking through dark times in their lives, what seems the smallest thing to us may often be the most helpful. A basket of fruit left at a front door or a handwritten note sent through the mail that shares a personal story may be the very thing that will open hurting hearts — just knowing that there are those who are grieving with them.
When Jesus was comforting His disciples before He left them, they were confused and frightened. He said, “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy” (John 16:22, NIV). This is the promise to those who belong to the Lord.
Often God allows personal suffering to come to us so that we can help others when they experience tragedy. We’re surrounded by hurting people. Some may wear a mask, but beneath the mask is a scarred soul. We show that we are available to others when we extend a helping hand, though we cannot force them to receive it. We can pray and ask God to open up the door of opportunity to show Christian love, remembering that He doesn’t comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters. This pleases the heart of God.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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