In Dealing with Grief Part 10, we learned that sometimes, when we are helping others deal with grief, our place is just to be there and to listen. Our encouraging silence will speak volumes more than our words ever could. Today’s devotional, another personal story of a Nugget Writer, gives us one last idea about how we can help others deal with grief:
COMFORT FROM ABOVE
We had finally arrived in the megalopolis of Los Angeles, cross-eyed with fatigue. Due to a series of delayed flights, difficulties finding the hotel, and problems with our reserved rooms, it was 4 a.m., Eastern Standard Time, when we finally got to bed. It had been a rushed trip, imposed upon us by an unexpected death in the family, and quite naturally, once we were awake enough to notice, we realized that we had forgotten to pack certain, rather essential items – socks, shampoo, and well, you get the picture! It would seem that when we packed our bags, our brains weren’t working quite as meticulously as usual!
Across the street from our hotel was a K-Mart. As we entered, a sales-lady immediately befriended us. We were looking for about 8 different items in 8 different sections of the store, and while she patiently guided us to each one of them, she talked and laughed, apparently doing everything in her power to brighten our day. How could she have known?
The last item retrieved, we were now headed for the cash register, and our personal K-Mart guide took her leave of us. Before doing so, however, she stopped in her tracks, looked into our eyes and said: “Have a Merry Christmas, and don’t forget, Jesus loves you!”
This young girl was a Christian, one who wasn’t afraid to testify of His love, even in such a large, busy city! We were so touched, and it gave us great comfort during that difficult day.
Later that same day and in a totally different part of the city, we went to another Superstore. It was a Wal-Mart this time, and our goal was to purchase construction paper and double-sided tape in order to mount some pictures of our beloved family member. At the check-out stand, the cashier looked into our eyes and said: “I am not supposed to say this, but I’ll be praying for you! God bless you! He will brighten your Christmas!”
We were blessed beyond means. Two similar messages, coming from two different vendors in two different stores, both risking their positions to bring us a message of hope. Wow! How powerful was their testimony! It lifted us up for our remaining time in Southern California. We had seen a glimpse from above and knew beyond a doubt that our Heavenly Father was comforting us.
When you depend upon God’s Holy Spirit, you can never go wrong. Just as these two vendors brought us relief in ways unknown to men, sharing God’s love with others will always open doors that could have remained closed for ever. Only God can truly bring relief to those in misery, and only God’s peace can appease the turmoil of our hearts. Only divine love can comfort us: “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.” (Ps 119:50 NIV); “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV); and “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Rom 5:5 NIV)
God is here, and He manifests Himself majestically through His Spirit, His Word and His human agents, those Christians who depend solely on Him for guidance.
Do you want to make a difference in this world? Depend on God’s Spirit and follow His inner promptings. He will guide you every step of the way!
“When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13 NIV)
Are you by any chance looking for socks? What about shampoo …?
Friends, we usually don’t know what’s going on in the lives of those we interact with daily. Many of these dear souls may be grieving. Our smiles and our words can go a long way towards helping these people to cope. The next time God pushes you to say something, such as “God bless you! He loves you so much!” Or “Keep looking to Jesus” to someone, even a perfect stranger, do it! You never know! You may be helping them to deal with grief! Your words may be what they need to keep them from getting stuck in the grieving cycle!
Join us next week for the last edition of Dealing With Grief: A personal testimony of someone who suffered a lot of pain in a very short while, and who discovered the answer to the “Why do bad things happen?” Question: Dealing with Grief, Part 12: Why do Bad Things Happen?
* 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.)