I had a conversation with a lady recently that really made me think. She mentioned how when she received a bad health diagnosis, the nurse in the room came up to her and put her arm around her. The woman got mad, thinking she didn’t need anyone’s pity, and angrily left the room and walked home. I know she was probably stunned at the news she just received. We all process things differently. She asked me what I thought about it, I told her I would have found something like that simple gesture comforting. That someone else could step into my hurt and pain, and let me know I was not alone for a brief moment. She said she could not understand that, and I knew not to press it the matter.
Pity defined is sympathy and sorrow aroused by the misfortune or suffering of another. That does not sound like a bad thing to me, but comforting that someone else could empathize with my pain.
When tragedy stuck Job and he lost everything, he had three friends who got together and traveled from their homes to comfort him. When they saw Job, they scarcely recognized him, they wailed loudly, tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to demonstrate their grief. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. And no one said a word, for they saw his suffering was too great for words. (See Job 2:11-13)
That speaks volumes to me. They were there just to be with him and let him know he was not alone. They offered him solace.
Defined, solace is giving comfort in sorrow, sadness, or misfortune; alleviation of distress or of discomfort.
A few years back, I found some cards that are blank on the inside and has a picture of a cute little puppy with the saddest face. I use these cards to offer solace to someone I hear is going through a loss. Inside I write: “Your loss is so great and my words are so small. So just know I am with you and praying for you.”
In the summer, I collect the feathers from our chickens that are beautiful, colorful, and fluffy. I save them and put them in a small glass canning jar. Then if someone I know is suffering or has lost someone, I send a jar of feathers along with this note:
I pray that you will find shelter and rest in the Father’s arms. He will cover you with His feathers and you will find shelter under His wings. They will be your place of refuge and safety during this time, for His promises are faithful to you. You can trust in that. (See Ps. 91)
I want to be like Job’s friends, before they opened their mouths, and let people know I am there for them. I can offer my time, friendship and prayer. I want to be the vessel that God uses to alleviate their suffering. So they can then know El-roi, the God who sees me, sees them too. (Gen. 16:13)
Be a vessel for someone and don’t be upset if they spurn your pity and offer of solace. It just might be more than they can handle at that moment. Just keep trying. God will appreciate it.
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