Lately, that seems to be more common than you may think. Can you identify with any of the following?
- Job layoff
- Unable to pay your bills
- Rebellious children
- Death of someone very close to you
- Owing more than your house is worth
- Chronic illness
My friend Sue gave me a book called "The Upside of Down" by Dr. Joseph M. Stowell. I've found much wisdom as I read the pages of this book.
We all have trials in this life. As believers, the Bible says to expect trials.
But we do have a choice as to ...how we respond.
Do we learn the lessons that these trials provide? Do we learn to persevere?
I wrote another post called Life Isn't Easy concerning some of the reasons we may suffer trials.
But have you ever gotten to the point of feeling overwhelmed by the trials?
I know that for me, there are times when I tend to isolate myself because it's too hard to put on a happy face. And yet, I'm not the type of person who goes around like a martyr or wanting people's sympathy. I'm a fighter and I don't give up easily.
But sometimes it's just hard to go about normal activities like going to church or meetings with friends. When they greet you with a smile and say "how are you?". Do they really want to know or are they just being polite?
I think people are often uncomfortable about what to say when they know you're going through difficulties.
So, here's a few of my thoughts for people who have friends who are in the midst of suffering:
- Sometimes the best thing is say nothing
- Don't give advice about what they should do
- Don't try to cheer them up by saying something like things will get better
- Listen more than you speak
- Don't judge them and tell them what they're doing wrong unless it's blatant sin
- A simple hug is wonderful
- Send a card telling them you're thinking of them and praying for them
- Let your friend know you're there for them
I may be way off base with this and so I'm open to your suggestions and thoughts on this topic. Maybe you have a friend who is going through difficulties or maybe you are the one? Why not share what you do or what helps you during these times?