Ministering to the Bereaved
What To Do When You Show Up
Listen to what the Bible says in Job 2:11-13; “Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came everyone from his own place…….for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. And when they lifted up their eyes afar off and knew him not, they lifted up their voice and wept; and they rent every one his mantle and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights and none spoke a word unto him; for they saw that his grief was very great.”
Notice in this text that Job’s three friends showed up when he was going through a time of deep grief and they basically did three things.
- They wept with him.
- They mourned with him.
- They said nothing to him.
His friends showed up and that is vital for us to do. But what do we do once we get there? Here’s some things to consider once we show up and come face-to-face with the person who is grieving.
Listen More Than You Talk—Job’s three friends showed up and didn’t say anything. They let Job talk. Most people process their grief through talking. Here’s a quote from a grieving person concerning those who simply showed up and said nothing.
A couple came over the night of the accident, and the only thing they said was “I’m sorry.” And then they just sat there. They didn’t feel the need to talk, ask questions, or try to comfort. They were just there! That was comfort. They may have said some things during the course of the evening, but mainly they were there to listen, not to talk or to give advice.
Weep With Them—What does v12 say that the three friends of Job did when they showed up during his time of grief? They wept with him. When you show up and weep with the person you are entering into their pain with them. It’s better to cry with them instead of crying for them. Here’s a quote from a grieving person concerning others shedding tears with them.
I had a friend who actually told me she was praying for God to allow her to carry some of our grief. She knew there was no way to shoulder what we were going through in the loss of our son, but it was such a precious sentiment that she would want to shed some of our tears with us.
Commit To Be There For The Long Haul—What grieving people need is a few friends who make it clear to them that they are going to be there with them over the long haul. Now, you cannot do it all. It takes an entire family of friends or an entire community to help nurture a grieving person back to life. One person cannot be the entire support system for a grieving person. Simply commit to do something you’re good at doing or you enjoy doing. You may simply commit to them that you are going to be there for them over the long haul to pray with them. Here’s what one grieving person said about another person who committed themselves to pray for them.
One friend told me recently that she has an alarm on her phone as a reminder to pray for me every day. This made me feel so loved and cared for! When someone says, “I’ll be praying for you,” I don’t know if that means once a day, twelve times a week, or if they will even be praying for me at all. But to know that I have one friend who spends a few moments every day praying for me—and I know she does, because she has an alarm set on her phone for that sole purpose—that makes me feel remembered and cared for.
Dr. Dennis Love is the Senior Pastor at Glenwood Baptist Church in Marion, NC. He and his wife Vicki have been married for almost 39 years.
They have been in Marion for almost 5 years. They have two sons and three grandchildren.