" I don't always know what to say, but I'm always willing to listen. Please know that we are here if you need us."
I had just shared with a friend some devastating news about myself. Although there was no grand solution to my problem, her words gave me rest.
When those we love endure nightmares and heartache, we grasp at the air for the right words. The compassion that God has instilled in us kindles our desire to soothe their pain through our call, our message, or our visit.
But sometimes we come up short. Sometimes the only thing we can think to say is what we've heard a dozen times before.
She's in a better place.
He doesn't deserve you.
Everything happens for a reason.
And we get the vague sense that our words have somehow evaporated into the ceiling without piercing the broken heart before us. Platitudes.
When the broken heart in front of you writhes with the unimaginable pain of faithlessness, devastation, cruel death, or broken promises, what do you say? How do you stare into red, tear-filled eyes without their salvation in your pocket?
When life throws heavy things at us, it brings into sharp focus our need for a savior. It allows Jesus to bust down the door where we are held captive in our fear or pain. It allows us to fall in love with Him.
And that's where we begin when we come up short. Pointing a broken heart back to Jesus always plants hope.
When those we love are beaten and ravaged by the world and sin, they don't need those phrases that have been said so many times that they've lost their meaning. They don't need a pat on the back. They need Jesus.
Our place is to remind them of how God loves. Whether we demonstrate that to them through our service or it comes out of our mouths.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
And how does He love anyway?
He's the friend who takes you to dinner when your husband doesn't show up for marriage counseling.
He's the small group leader who arranges for meals to be brought to your home while you suffer the chemo.
He's the former addict who sits with you hour by hour as you wrestle with the demons of withdrawal.
He's the mother who holds your hand as you plan the funeral for your newborn.
When hearts are broken, there is no other specialist like Jesus. He always knows what to say. And what not to say. And He lives in each one of us as believers. When we don't know what to say, we pray.
We pray for God to move. To heal. To soothe. To calm. To bind up the wounds. And then watch as Jesus does what He does best.
When fuzzy platitudes aren't enough, we let God live and move through us. He knows exactly what the broken need.