What happens when we receive devastating news?
It could be the sudden death of a family member, a dear friend, or even a much-beloved pet. It could be the loss of employment, the loss of a business contract or even not getting the job you always wanted. I could be the diagnosis of an incurable illness. It could be separation, divorce or falling out with people you love and trust. It could be not passing an exam.
I remember hearing devastating news every day for almost a year when I worked in the news department of a television network. Every news that was selected was worthy to be broadcasted, it was always weighed in the public interest. I watched unedited news images from national and international events and some of them were very gruesome. Looking back now, I became insensitive, yet sometimes, I was moved by the tragedy, the human cost, but for me, it was never personal.
It becomes personal only in the context of relationships, in the context of community. I am always moved when communities are able to carry the pain and the suffering. We were never created to carry the pain, the loss and suffering alone. Not even Jesus, when at his lowest hour he sought the comfort of his friends only to find them sleeping!
We know that pain can be physical yet it is also spiritual. Pain has the capacity to touch our inmost being, it reaches us deep inside changing our moods and emotions. When we are struck down and when words fail us I have found that “Silence” a great comfort.
I have seen great suffering and experience disappointments. I have found myself with no words to be said only to be “Present”. It is at that moment in the Presence of companionship when the burden of pain is broken because it is carried.
This is why Jesus said that the Holy Spirit is our greater Comforter. He comes upon you to bring you rest, peace and comfort. He can come on his own will, or He can come through you and me.
Imagine a community that practices the Presence of God well, every tear becoming healing oil, softening and smoothening wounds.
I was moved when I read the words of Psalm 62
“One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: “Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;” (Psalms 62:11–12 NIV11)
David wrote these words in the midst of great suffering and pain. These are spiritual words, written and inspired by God. They are healing words.