A church member recently asked counsel about how to help a young family who lost their dad suddenly and tragically. Here are some thoughts I shared with her:
Thanks so much for your voice mail, and I’m sorry to hear about the passing away of your friends’ dad. That’s a sad day for anyone. I’ll be praying for them and for you, that you’ll have wisdom as you minister to them and encourage them.
As far as thoughts about how to minister to them, every person grieves differently, but here are a few things that come to mind.
- Pray, and tell them you are praying. The Holy Spirit can minister to them in ways that you cannot. It will encourage them just to know that you are praying.
- Tell them you love them and care about them. Someone they love and were loved by is now gone. It will mean a lot to know that others are loving them as a reflection of God’s love for them.
- Listen. As you have opportunity to ask how they are doing, be prepared to listen and to be surprised. They may not cope with grief in the way you expect.
- Be a friend. Sometimes the most valuable thing is someone who will just be there during the tough times. Their lives have changed forever, and they will be lonely in ways that they haven’t expected. It means a lot to have friends during lonely times.
- Tell them it’s ok to grieve. They loved their dad and will miss him. God created us to have joy in relationships and also to have sorrow. It’s ok for them to be sad and to talk about their sadness to the Lord. Christ Himself grieved when He knew He was about to be separated from His Father.
- Try to understand, but don’t assume that you do. Everyone deals with loss differently.
Well, those are some thoughts that come to mind. I will pray for grace and wisdom as you minister to this family.