How do you care for someone who is hurting or suffering? That question is addressed by Dr. Kenneth Haugk in his book Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart. He says that when one is called to care for another it is good to have a Biblical understanding of suffering. In this segment he says that the Biblical way to care for another is to know that Christ cares for people through people. Let’s listen as the Bible speaks.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4).
This is perhaps the passage that has brought more comfort to more people than any other. What comfort do people find here? The presence of God.
- Just as the shepherd is with his sheep, God is with his people. His presence comforts. It means that wherever we are, we are not alone.
- Jesus experienced the feeling of being utterly alone like we often do when he cried from the cross, “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?”
- The physical presence of another person can bring comfort to those who are suffering.
- Even more important is when someone is present with someone in spirit and mind—understanding and empathizing with them in their pain.
As a caring Christian, you can follow the Good Shepherd’s example when you walk with them in their dark valleys.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
Suffering often makes a person feel alone and lonely which makes the suffering even worse. The Christian faith says that God is a suffering God. In these words Paul calls God “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.”
- As Christians we meet God in the person of Jesus who came to us in the flesh to suffer for us and like us.
- The Greek word translated comfort means “to call alongside.” When Jesus promised the Holy Spirit in John 14:26 he called him the “Comforter”—the one called to your side.
- When Paul speaks about the comfort of God, he speaks from experience. As he offers solace to others in their chaos, he does so from his experience as one who has earned the right to speak.
- Christians by definition are people who have received comfort from God and are empowered to embody God’s comfort in their relationship with others.
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:12)
When God revealed himself to humanity, he chose to do so not so much in mystical or heavenly visions but in the human form of Jesus.
- Through out his life Jesus demonstrated his care and compassion for people who were hurting and suffering.
- Christians are called to be Christ to a world that is hurting and suffering.
- When Christians show love and care for the suffering and hurting, God’s character shines forth.
- No one has seen God, but when suffering and hurting people experience God’s love and care through compassionate and caring Christians, they see God at work.