In Dealing with Grief Part 9, we learned that when someone you know is grieving, your prayers make more of a difference than you could possibly know! Today’s devotional gives us yet another idea about how we can help others deal with grief:
AN ENCOURAGING SILENCE
“Jesus kept silence–not a word from his mouth. The governor was impressed, really impressed.” (Mat 27:14 The Message)
Silence can be a big encouragement to many people. I am not talking here about failing to show appreciation. I am simply saying that there are times when silence is golden and means more than a myriad of words.
Jesus’ silence when falsely accused “impressed” the governor. Why? Because it is a human tendency to always defend ourselves. Not so with Jesus. His silence had more meaning to the governor than any defense Jesus might have given on His behalf. This is why Pilate was convinced that Jesus was innocent! (see Luk 23:4)
I remember the night my dad passed away. A somber message from my brother was left on our answering machine in the middle of the night. I made immediately all the necessary arrangements for my wife and I to fly to Belgium and to make arrangements for my mother-in-law (bless her) to fly out from California to take care of our son who was sick with the flu. I didn’t completely comprehend at the time that my dad was gone. It wasn’t until I saw him laying lifeless in the hospital that it hit home. That’s when my tears poured forth. I didn’t know the Lord at the time, and I thought he would never be able to enjoy the pleasure of sight any longer. My world had seemed to have crumbled.
Many people came to give me their condolences. They filled the air with meaningless words. I know they meant well, but my state of mind was not such that I could appreciate their words. The ones who were the most annoying were the ones who made long speeches. Didn’t they understand I couldn’t grasp what they said? I was living in fog. I felt empty and completely discouraged, and all of these well-meaning friends were keeping me from grieving!
However, there was one person and one person alone who made a difference as I struggled to cope with the loss of my dad. That person had insisted of coming with me to Belgium. That person had insisted on being with me in my darkest hour. That person never uttered a word. She held my hand when I needed a presence. She hugged me when I needed comfort. She even held me in her arms when I tried to fall asleep at night, although later on I found out that this kept her from sleeping herself. She cried when I cried. This person’s presence made a whole difference to me during my time of mourning. Her silence meant more to me that the hundreds of encouragements I verbally received. This person was my wife. By silently caring about me, she helped to turn my world rightside up again.
I would like to encourage any of you who find yourselves in the situation where you need to console someone, just be there. Hold them if they need comfort, cry with them for their loss. You being there will mean the world to them. Many years may pass by, but they will always remember that you were the one who really mourned, the one sent by God to help them out of the state of fog their mind was in. Your silence will be golden and will be perceived as the best encouragement they could have ever received.
The same is true when we pray. How often do we give endless monologues that end up with us still not knowing God’s will for our situation? God’s Word is clear on this:
“Quiet, everyone! Shh! Silence before GOD. Something’s afoot in his holy house. He’s on the move!” (Zec 2:13 Message)
We need to be quiet to be able to hear His voice! Prayer is not a monologue, it’s a dialogue and we need to wait and listen to God’s response. No wonder that so many people hate praying. Who likes monologues? I don’t know of many people who do. However if you let God talk with you, you will hunger for more of these conversations with God.
I love my moments when I am in dialogue with my Heavenly father. The best way for me to do so is to go for a power walk with my Forever Friend. I always come back from my walk enriched and blessed. The more I listen to Him and the less I talk, the more blessed I am.
“Silence is praise to you, Zion-dwelling God, And also obedience.” (Psa 65:1 Message)
When we are in communication with God, and we take the time to listen, our silence is considered by God as a praise offering. It also shows our obedience because it shows that we want to hear His voice. We want to know His will. We care for His directions in our lives. We realize that He is the One who makes a difference in our world. He is so awesome.
My Heavenly Father holds me, too, when I need comfort. He cares for me way beyond anyone on this planet. And He cares for you in the same way! Will you go for a power walk with God right now? Listen to His voice. Wait on Him. You will be amazed to His revelations. He wants to have a relationship with you. Go for it and enjoy it! Silence can be golden!
And what can we learn from this devotional? When helping others to deal with grief, sometimes our place is just to be there and to listen. Our encouraging silence will speak volumes more than our words ever could.
Please join us next week for one last lesson on how we can help others deal with grief in Dealing with Grief, Part 11: Comfort From Above
* Rob Chaffart, Father of two teens, Teacher, Author and Moderator for the Illustrator and the Sermon Illustrator website (www.sermonillustrator.org ), founder of Answers2Prayer Ministries (www.Answer2Prayer.org ) To contact him click here
(To access the entire “Dealing With Grief” mini-series, please click here.)