Broken Again

heart-401499_640My heart is breaking again, filled with fresh grief at the news of yet another friend who is facing grave illness. “Facing” really isn’t the right word. More like engulfed in it: constant pain, limited mobility, countless medical tests and consultations. As she stoically described her condition, I struggled to hold back my tears until after I hung up the phone. Then, thankful once again for a husband who will let me cry in his arms, I sobbed until I could barely breathe. The rest of the evening was a bit of a blur, except for the whispering of these thoughts within my soul:

  • I still believe that God is good and that he is in charge.
  • There is no good in the thought that often comes when faced with another person’s sadness, “What if that were my fate as well?” We are each given the strength we need to walk the path chosen for us. We aren’t equipped to walk another’s path. Such an illness is not my path. If it ever is, God will sustain me through it then, as he no doubt is providing for my friend right now. After all, he loves her even more than I do.

But, something has been added to my path, for now have another friend who is hurting. She needs me. For that I can count on the Lord’s supply: comfort in my grief for her, direction as to my part in helping out, and time to do that which He shows me. He is not giving me the grace to be ill, for I am healthy. He is giving me the grace to walk alongside a sick friend, which in and of itself can be very hard indeed.

Bearing one another’s burdens takes on many different meanings, according to the circumstances at hand. Always, though, the call to carry comes with the promise of our Lord’s provision. Ultimately, he is the one bearing those burdens with us. One of the ways he provides is by allowing us to share what we have learned with one another. Have you ever been called upon to help a friend in deep need, or perhaps been the one in need yourself? What did you learn that you can share with me?

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8 thoughts on “Broken Again

  1. Since my husband died a little over 2 years ago, I have had the opportunity to walk along side several women who also recently lost their husbands. Another good friend is just days from losing hers to cancer and she has told me what a comfort it has been having someone who knows what it’s like go through it with her. We never know how God is going to use catastrophic life events to help others who face the same. One thing I have learned in a way I might not otherwise have: His mercies are new every morning and His grace is always sufficient. Will be praying for you also as God gives you strength and wisdom to help your friend during the days ahead.

    • His grace is always sufficient. Good words to hear today. My mom says, “God never wastes anything. He uses everything.” ‘Sounds like you are seeing that in your own life. ‘Missing you!

  2. You are a good friend to care so much, Brenda. Being the one who walks beside our loved ones is, indeed, challenge enough. As I imagine you already know, it’s important to hear beyond the words and beyond the stoicism to discern what they might really be feeling that day. Also, optimism and confidence that they can deal with this, regardless of how the journey goes medically or physically is better than pat comments about being sure that they’ll get well. Be willing to hear the hard stuff and to suggest additional resources if the patient seems to need them. Your friends are fortunate to have you with them on their journeys. ❤

      • One particularly memorable experience was when one of my very dear friends was dying of lung cancer (she was 39 and never smoked, so it seemed particularly unfair). Even within a week of her death, she told me that her other friends weren’t letting her talk about dying, but she was so concerned about her 5- and 12-year-old daughters. I just let her talk and tell me her worries, and I reassured her that when she could no longer be with them, I and others would be looking out for them. I think she just needed to have someone acknowledge how her story was going to end instead of denying it. That was a long time ago, but it really stuck with me and has informed other conversations that I’ve had.

  3. I am always getting bad news from my family or friends and I feel so helpless because I want to help them but I know that it’s not in my control. All I can do is give it up to God bc he knows what he is doing… I just want so badly to ease the pain/fears of that person and remind them that God is in control. I know because I have too much empathy that if I was in their shoes, it would be hard to hear when you are hurting (physically, psychologically and spiritually). We know the phases that people (including ourselves) go through when they are hit with devastating news. It can shake us to our to core. I have learned to just be there for them and keep praying for them. Sometimes, even if they are very strong Christians, they just don’t have the strength to keep pressing on. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend…. Thank you for sharing. I know it must of been very painful writing this blog. Praying!

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