Help to Make It Through

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It takes time to move through the stages of grief, so you will need a heap of comfort, support, and encouragement for a while.

Bible Reading: Galatians 6:1-5

Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

“WHEN MY GRANDMA died, it’s like I froze,” Ryan admitted. “My homework wasn’t getting done-especially a huge research paper for history class. But Taylor talked through the project with me little by little. We brainstormed a topic, talked about research sources, and came up with a list of questions to ask the teacher when I got stuck. I couldn’t have survived that semester without Taylor’s help.”

When you lose a loved one through death or face any other life-altering tragedy, you need more than just comfort to get through the pain. And it’s the same kind of help you can offer friends who suffer.

First, you need support. What’s the difference between comfort and support? People supply comfort when they share your emotional pain. People supply support when they help in practical ways. Life doesn’t stop after a tragedy, but the emotional burden you are carrying often saps your energy. You and others in your family probably need help for a while just getting normal tasks done. You need help from people committed to obeying Galatians 6:2, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (NIV).

You might be shocked at the idea of admitting you need help. You might not want to bother others for things you normally do for yourself. Resist the temptation to ignore or push away the support others offer. God put Galatians 6:2 in the Bible because he knows there are times you need the support of others. This is such a time. Let other people do things for you, and be grateful for their help.

So what if you need something and nobody steps up to offer help? Ask for it. There’s nothing wrong with telling a trusted friend, a youth leader, or your minister about your need and asking for help.

Second, you need encouragement. You receive encouragement when someone does something thoughtful to lift your spirits. Be thankful when people ask how you are doing-or when you receive flowers, cards, letters, or e-mail. Again-if you don’t get the encouragement you need, ask for it.

After a loss it takes time to move through the stages of grief, so you will need a heap of comfort, support, and encouragement for a while. Don’t expect that you will be ready to dive back into life as usual right away. Let your friends and family care for you as long as you need it.

REFLECT: If you aren’t suffering the pain of losing a loved one, keep alert to friends who are. How can you share comfort, support, and encouragement with them?

PRAY: Ask God today to prepare you to share with people around you who suffer from the pain of personal tragedy.

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