Source: Relevant Magazine – Stephanie S. Smith
Why Do Christians Need to Make It All Better?
Many believers rush through pain to get to the hope. But is that the best way?
Break-ups. Layoffs. Loss of a loved one. Rejection. Personal failure. A life-changing diagnosis. Christian or not, some of these things will happen to you, if they haven’t already.
How often have you known Christians to absorb the shock of tragedy and then, without missing a beat, rear their heads and say, “But God is good. There is hope. I’m better for it now”?
But sometimes this is dishonest. Sometimes it doesn’t get better. And sometimes it’s not good.
And saying it is, is as inappropriate as wearing white to a funeral.
How do we honestly express pain as Christians, believers in a God who redeems all things? Do hope and grief have to be mutually exclusive?
Resist the urge to resolve
I’ve heard several editors say they make a practice of chopping off the concluding two to three paragraphs in Christian writing, not because the writing isn’t good, but because this is when Christians consistently shift into autopilot optimism. They present the story, the sorrow or the sticking point and then rush to resolve it. But what would happen if we let the pain sit for a while? What would we learn if we paused to listen to the pain instead of working to fix it? What if, in the story of our own lives, we allowed the loose ends to lead us into transformation, rather than forcing a quick “takeaway”?
We would also do well to remember this in comforting others. For every grieving person who is blessed by a comforting comment, there are 10 more who receive these condolences as the best of intentions fallen inopportunely flat. As much as we want to help and express our care, handouts of truth nuggets will never mean as much to the afflicted as wrestling through to this conclusion for themselves. Resist the urge to make cheap sense of pain. Instead, practice what Jill Briscoe beautifully calls “a ministry of presence”—offer a hand, a meal, a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear.
Read the rest here: Recognize a time for everything