A friend recently sent me a note about her neighbor who is dying of cancer and has been given only a few months to live. And understandably, my friend was feeling ill-equipped, struggling to know how to best support her.
I expressed to her how I still feel feeble in my ability to walk through difficulties with people.
To journey with someone into heartache is to become deeply aware of my own powerlessness, of my inability to change circumstances when every ounce of my being wishes I could alter the situation. I feel desperate to remove the pain, but I cannot.
Really engaging the heartache of another requires us to be reminded of our own helplessness, the messiness of life, and the reality that we are not in control. It is a sacrifice. But it is a sacrifice that can also open our hearts to see and receive the grace of God anew. As we love, not necessarily by doing or saying the right things, but by actually caring enough to deeply feel the pain of another, our hearts can soften, becoming more pliable for God to move in our own lives.
Isn’t it amazing that by loving someone in their heartache we might find ourselves at the center of what God is doing, not only in them, but in us?