‘…Weep with those who weep.’ Romans 12:15 NKJV
In 1883, poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox was travelling by train to an inaugural ball when she noticed a woman weeping across the aisle. Wilcox spent the rest of the journey comforting her, and when she reached her destination she was in no mood to celebrate. Later, remembering the woman on the train, she wrote the opening lines to her famous poem Solitude: ‘Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone.’ Holly Vicente Robaina says: ‘We laugh…play…and celebrate together. Why’s it so difficult to cry together?…When friends hurt, Christians say, I’ll pray for you… In some cases God heals and restores, but sometimes there’s no miracle…only profound sadness.’ CS Lewis wrote about losing his wife: ‘Where’s God?…Go to Him when your need is desperate and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double-bolting on the inside.’ I don’t think Lewis would have been comforted by, ‘God loves you…I’ll pray for you.’ While it’s great to exhort, we need to evaluate our words before we speak. Are we using ‘encouragement’ to ignore somebody’s pain because we don’t want to deal with it? Do we mean what we say, or are we just rattling off polite clichés? Do we expect our words to fix everything? Are we acting like we can do a better job than ‘the Comforter’? When we promise to pray for somebody, do we check on them later? Ever wonder why Jesus wept at Lazarus’ tomb? He could just have [told] the mourners, ‘Everything’s ok, folks. God loves you,’ and raised Lazarus. Instead He showed His love by crying with them.
SoulFood: 1 Cor 12-14, John 4:39-54, Ps 87, Pr 24:1-4
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright 2012