A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 4 (Day 13)
Let Your Pain Draw You Closer to Others
Suffering changes you. It can turn you away from self-centeredness and toward caring more about other people in pain.
One important way you can use your pain for good is to draw closer to others. If you're honest about the things that are causing you pain, then it will deepen your love and mature your relationships and sense of community. If you allow yourself to be vulnerable, then it will help you build authentic relationships.
There's a sad statistic that about a third of marriages end up in divorce after the loss of a child. People all grieve differently, and it can drive a couple apart.
When our son died, my wife Kay and I decided we were going to use our pain to grow closer together rather than let it drive us apart. We didn’t try to talk each other out of our pain. When Kay was going through a wave of grief, I would simply walk over and put my arm around her or just stand by her and be quiet. There were no words to say.
The deeper the pain, the fewer words you use.
Our small group came over after Matthew died. They said, "We're spending the night at your house. We're not going to leave you here alone. We're going to be with you." They didn't try to give us any words of wisdom. They just gave us the ministry of presence. They slept on our couches and on the floor. I'll never forget how it held us up.
The Bible says, "Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2 NLT).
You don't have to try to cheer people up when they're grieving. Instead, try to enter into their grief and feel it with them. Sharing in someone’s pain leads to building fellowship, becoming closer to other people, and strengthening relationships.
Talk It Over
- Why do you think people often need your presence more than your words of wisdom when they are in pain?
- How has suffering changed your relationships? How has it drawn you closer to or pushed you further away from people?
- Why is it sometimes easier to close yourself off when you are grieving rather than to make yourself vulnerable in your relationships?
This devotional © 2021 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.