There were two deaths this week that rocked the worlds of people I know. One was a middle-aged father who leaves behind his widow and teen children; the other a young mother who leaves behind her husband and their infant child. As in times before, I have asked myself the same question: “what do I say?” And the answer is the same too… Nothing. That is, nothing of myself.
Human words can never begin to break through the darkness of despair. There is no power in them to give hope to the hopeless, or restore what we know should never have been lost. Human words cannot hold a wife close, hand a diploma to a daughter, or nurse an infant son. In fact, if I try to speak to a person having lost someone using human words, it is only proof that I do not understand their condition.
But you have probably noticed that I’ve been using “human” as an adjective. Words are wonderfully helpful – just not mine. The words I mean are those from the lips of someone who is more than a man.
I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?
– John 11:25b-26
The only word that matters for these hurting people is this: a “yes” put on their lips and in their hearts by the Holy Spirit of God Himself.
And lest I be misunderstood as suggesting that this fervent belief will by any means cease all brokenhearted mourning, remember that, within less than ten verses of this statement, Jesus – the resurrection and the life himself – wept.
And that’s okay.
But what is not okay is me trying to use any words other than His to bind up the brokenhearted. My words do not bring life to the hearers – His do.1 My words do not bring peace with God – His do.2 My words do not command the dead to come out of their tombs…
Do not give yourself and your ideas/opinions/wisdom to the brokenhearted.
Give them Christ and His promise.
1. John 6:68
2. John 20:19
3. John 11:43