two women leaning on one another

Grieving with Those Who Mourn

One of the most distinct characteristics of the human soul is its ability to empathize with another person’s pain. When I walk into a hospital, a patient’s pain or fear has an effect on me and I choose to walk alongside that person in their pain. Neighbors bring food by to help a grieving family. Men’s groups adopt a widow’s yardwork as their attempt to lighten the load. And men and women wrap their arms around the broken shoulders of people who shudder in their loss, silently absorbing the tears and anguish.

But how do you do that for people who are thousands of miles away? How do you show that compassion to thousands who are homeless because of an earthquake? How do you show compassion then? I just read an advisory from someone on the ground in Haiti and they listed “self-deploying” to help as one of the worst things you can do. That just adds confusion. So typically, we think of money or praying. But our praying tends to be limited because our own lives are so busy.

So, for me. . .whether it’s for Haitian families who are searching for missing loved ones, or people who are fleeing from the Taliban in Afghanistan, or the soldiers who are walking through their own unique grief that this week’s events have brought to the surface of their emotions once again, interceding is the more intentional, harder work of “grieving with those who mourn.” I don’t want to rush past it. I don’t want to treat it as superficial. So I have found myself choosing to remember, choosing to call out to God, choosing to grieve even from a distance.

It’s been a week with so much chaos that the different crises begin to blur together, but for those in the midst of each of them–just like individual families who are walking through funerals–nothing else is as important. Will you risk letting your guard down to grieve with those who mourn?

“Lord Jesus, draw near to those who suffer today and make your comfort unmistakable.”

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