Morning would always arrive too early, and in each minute a thousand days were lived. My feet would shuffle along while the world spun by, a regular blur of normality and happiness alien then. Everyone seemed so okay and days just kept going on. People spoke and I smiled and that was all. Suffering isn't something we're akin to talking about. We hide. Often, we suffer silently due to the shock of loss, of something missing, misaligned and broken. The face of suffering looks like divorce, abuse, abandonment, loss of a career, injury and even death. We feel alone. Many drown in the confusion of just why or how this - whatever 'this' is for them - happened to them.
We who watch life pull apart in those moments have all opportunity to outlast suffering in the lives of those we love - not with our words or enlightened ideas, but with our hope. Hope always blooms in the harshest winds and darkest nights. Just as morning too early arrives overcoming night, hope in a new day owned by our faithful Creator usurps suffering.
Here are three things not to say to someone suffering: Time heals all wounds. (Not true; healing belongs who mourn. Matt 5:4) I know how you feel. (This only serves to diminish the reality of the person's suffering.) Be strong. (Lasting strength begins with our need and dependence on our Savior.)
Rather than offering quick words to those suffering, let us offer lasting Hope and suffer well with them.
"Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good." 1 Peter 4:19