Our first impulse when someone we know and love goes through a season of suffering tends to be either to try to assert ourselves too much – by talking too much, using trite cliches, or by trying to cheer our friend up by distracting them, or by avoiding them altogether – frequently by rationalizing to ourselves that our friend probably needs some alone time. But both these paths fail to show genuine love to the sufferer by making the primary goal of the relational moment ourselves and our comfort.

Instead, genuinely walking with those who are suffering means embracing their pain and willingly and patiently carrying it with them, not with feeble words but with Christlike presence. The temptation to believe that every problem can be fixed if we only know the proper technique can drive us to try to use words to fix grief, but the biblical pattern of the incarnation of the Son of God shows us that sometimes being “with” and being “for”, being present, is what the moment of grief and suffering needs.


Aaron Mueller
Chuck Rathert

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